Study Guide for The Call of the Wild
Chapters 1-3 Vocabulary Words & Definitions
This section of the study guide will give you vocabulary words and definitions that appear in chapters 1-3. By having these definitions and their parts of speech, you can gain a better understanding of what you are reading. Before you read each chapter, preview the words listed here.
Docile: (adjective) easily let, taught, managed
Insular: (adjective) narrow minded, limited, isolated
Progeny: (noun) one's offspring; children
Futile: (adjective) without useful result
Hydrophobia: (noun) rabies
Metamorphosis: (noun) passing on from one form to another
Conciliate: (verb) to win over or gain friendship; to overcome hostility
Imperious: (adjective) commanding, domineering
Introspect: (verb) to examine reflectively
Malignant: (adjective) causing death or harm
Retrogression: (noun) reversal in development from a higher to a lower state
Callous: (adjective) to be without emotional feelings
Cadence: (noun) rhythmic movement
Grim: (adjective) stern, gloomy
Ignominious: (adjective) dishonorable
Consternation: (noun) a sudden confusion or amazement
Morose: (adjective) having a sullen disposition
Arduous: (adjective) difficult, hard
Din: (noun) a loud, confused noise
Daunt: (verb) intimidate, discourage
Prostrate: (adjective) defenseless, lying prone
Sinew: (noun) strength, power
Inexorable: (adjective) unyielding
Use these questions to further enhance your understanding, prepare for a test or choose an essay topic.
- Why were dogs so important in the Klondike during the gold rush?
- Describe what Buck was like when he lived with Judge Miller on the Santa Clara estate.
- Why does Francois think that Buck is worth every penny spend on him?
- Within a short period of time in the Klondike, Buck learns about "the law of club and fang". What incidents teach him this lesson? What does he learn from each lesson?
- As early as chapter 2, we see Buck change into a primordial being. What do you specifically see in Buck that demonstrates this transformation?
- In chapter 2, Buck steals food from Francois and Perrault. What does this reveal to the reader? Why is this change in Buck as important one?
Terms and Definitions
These terms and definitions will aid in your comprehension of chapters 4-7.
Lububrious: (adjective) sad, mournful, dejected
Dubious: (adjective) causing doubt, unsettled in judgement
Inarticulate: (adjective) unable to speak clearly
Salient: (adjective) standing out, projecting beyond a line, conspicuous
Chaffering: (verb) bargaining, hassling
Remonstrance: (noun) statement of reasons against an act or idea; protest
Copious: (adjective) large in quantity; abundant
Monosyllabic: (noun) word of one syllable
Tormentor: (noun) one who causes terrible pain or annoys another
Chivalry: (noun) brave and courteous qualities of an ideal knight
Convalesce: (verb) to grow strong after a long illness
Provocation: (verb) to cause to be angry
Conjure: (verb) to bring to mind
Babel: (noun) a confusing sound of many people talking at once
Ferocious:(adjective) extremely savage; fierce
Tangible: (adjective) capable of being felt by touch
Infinitesimal: (adjective) immeasurable small
Ptarmigan: (noun) type of species of grouse that has feathered feet, is found in cold regions
Usurp: (verb) to take over by force without authority
Advent: (noun) coming or arrival
Gaunt: (noun) thin and bony
Pertinent: (adjective) relating significantly to the matter being discussed
Sample Essay Questions
Use these essay questions to further enhance your understanding of these chapters of Call of the Wild.
- Cite two examples from chapter 4 illustrating Buck's careful and cunning strategy to take the team's leadership away from Spitz.
- When Buck's first tactic in his battle with Spitz falls through, what does he do next? What does this reveal about Buck?
- Buck dreams about a man who is "short of leg and longer in arm", who do you think the man is? What is the connection of this dream to the book's plot?
- Why do Francois, Perrault, and the half breed have to sell Buck?
- Why does Buck refuse to pull the sled at John Thorton's camp at the mouth of the White River?
- Compare Buck's relationship with Judge Miller to his one with John Thorton.
- Thorton save Buck's life by rescuing him from the three foolish travelers. Explain two times when Buck saves Thorton's life.
- What is Buck's life like after Thorton's death? What evidence do you have of this?
- What do the Yeehats think Buck is?