North Hall Library

 

Essay Prompts

Essay Prompts for the FYS Summer Reading

Choose ONE prompt and write a 250-500 word essay that responds to the prompt. Bring a print copy of your essay to the first meeting of your FYS class. Use MLA formatting:  type a header with your name, your instructor’s name, FYS 1100, the date, and the number of your prompt; center your title; double space the paper; indent each new paragraph five spaces; number pages in the upper right-hand corner; and add the Works Cited to the bottom of the last page in MLA format.

  1. Anthropomorphism is a word from the Greek that means to give human qualities to non-human things. Do you think Jack London anthropomorphizes Buck in “The Call of the Wild”? Briefly discuss Buck’s human characteristics and his animal characteristics. Which of those characteristics do you think allow the reader to identify with Buck’s experiences? Quote key passages that support your argument, using MLA citation format.
  2. In the story, Buck draws on both innate abilities and learned behaviors to become a leader. Briefly described each and discuss how he uses both to become the leader of the dog pack. What does London seem to be showing us about leadership? Using MLA citation format, quote key passages that support your argument.
  3. In this story, Buck moves from a tame house pet to a wild sled dog. How did you react to Buck becoming wild? Did you cheer for him in the wild or regret his move away from the world of men? What do you think is the underlying message of London’s story, and how does Buck’s transformation fit that theme? Using MLA citation format, quote key passages that support your argument.
  4. Cruelty plays a large part in the story and leaves a mark on the characters. How are John Thornton and Buck damaged by the cruelty of others? What are the lasting effects of that cruelty on them? What do you think London is showing his readers through his depiction of cruelty? Using MLA citation format, quote key passages that support your argument.

Need help with MLA format? Visit the Library's MLA guide.