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Mercedes is a beauty queen. She is furious when her belongings are rifled through and thrown out.
Mercedes, Hal and Charles should never have had a dog sled team. They were not prepared, and did not understand that they had weighed the sled down too much. The scene is described this way. When the men are loading the sled, “Mercedes continually fluttered in the way of her men and kept up an unbroken chattering of remonstrance and advice” (enotes etext p. 28).
It gets even worse when the “kind-hearted citizens” intervene and try to help lighten the load of the sled.
Mercedes cried when her clothes-bags were dumped on the ground and article after article was thrown out. She cried in general, and she cried in particular over each discarded thing. She clasped hands about knees, rocking back and forth broken-heartedly. (p. 29)
Clearly, Mercedes is out of touch with reality. She does not realize that if they keep their possessions, they and the dogs will most likely die.
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