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How would you compare and contrast the dog's and the man's attitudes toward the...

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taylor2010 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2007 at 11:12 PM via web

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How would you compare and contrast the dog's and the man's attitudes toward the dangerously cold journey they are taking?

Can you include 3 specific actions of the dog that shows instincts, under the circumstances, to be superior to the man's judgement?

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merehughes | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted November 4, 2007 at 12:23 AM (Answer #1)

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The first example of the dog's instincts are described by the dog not knowing that it was more than 50 degrees below but 'knowing' in the sense of instinct. London tells us that the dog crept, "... along at the man's heels, and that made it question eagerly every unwonted movement of the man as if expecting him to go into camp or to seek shelter somewhere and build a fire." The dog knows that it is too cold to go on.

The second example is when the man makes the dog go ahead of him to detect hidden pockets of ice that could break through to water. The dog did not want to and it fell into such a spot. Afterwards, "...It made quick efforts to lick the ice off its legs, then dropped down in the snow and began to bite out the ice that had formed between the toes. This was a matter of instinct." The fact that the dog did not want to go first and seemed to sense the danger is an example of his instinct being superior to man's. Additionally, the dog knew how to remedy his situation.

The dog also knows that the only way to survive is to stick with the fire provider. When the fire provider is no longer able to do this, the dog heads back to the camp where there are men, it knows to provide fire. The dog shows superior judgement in his decision to first stay with the man and then leave him after the man has died.

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