How do François and Perrault respond when they discover that Buck has killed Spitz in The Call of the Wild?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Chapter III, "The Dominant Primordial Beast," the urge to dominate is strong in Buck and until his new life in the Alaskan wilderness, this urge grows. Francois and Perrault recognize in Buck and Spitz that a rivalry will occur between the two Alpha dogs. "One devil, dat Spitz" remarks Perrault on one occasion when Spitz took advantage of Buck's exhaustion after he has fled mad Dolly. But, Francois rejoins, "Dat Buck two devils." This first attack of Spitz is the beginning of a tremendous rivalry as Spitz feels his supremacy is threatened by this bigger Southland dog, but he is a cunning dog.

"It was inevitable that the clash for leadership should come. Buck wanted it. He wanted it because it was his nature, because he had been gripped tight by that nameless, incomprehensible pride of the trail and trace....this was the pride that bore up Spitz and made him thrash the sled-dogs....

With his knowledge of these dogs, Francois knows that sooner or later, Spitz and Buck will fight until one is killed. While there are various confrontations among the dogs, Buck undermines the authority of Spitz as he sides with the weaker dogs. However, "cold and calculating" Spitz takes advantage of a rabbit chase to cut across the field and attack Buck. Soon Buck is bleeding, but he tricks Spitz and breaks his leg so that prevents his running and finishes him off. "Buck was inexorable."

In the next chapter, Francois underscores his remark that Buck is "two devils." He also remarks, "No more Spitz, no more trouble, sure." But, when Buck is not given the leadership position, he rebels. So, finally, Francois places Buck in the lead role and with his quick thinking and acting, Buck proves himself a superior leader to Spitz. Consequently, Perrault is satisfied, and Francois is even more impressed,

"Nevaire such a dog as dat Buck!" he cried. "No, nevaire! Heem worth one t'ousan'dollair, by Gar! Eh? Wot you say, Perrault?"

In these two chapters, Jack London's The Call of the Wild models the arguments of Nietzche about human competition as Buck is the domineering creature, "the dominant beast," who possesses "the will to power." London refers to Buck as a "masterful dog" who has "pride" and engages in the struggle for power, the "clash for leadership" of Nietzsche, for the simple reason that this drive, this innate desire, is simply a part of his "nature."

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