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In the novel Call of the Wild by Jack London, Buck is the main character who turns from a civilized, pampered pet into a wild creature willing to kill. Spitz, the lead dog of the team and Buck's nemesis, challenges Buck over a rabbit, the fight to the death begins. Buck wins by using his imagination and changing a strategy midstream. Spitz dies, and only Buck appears the next morning. Both Francois and Perrault, two practical men, comment, "An' dat Buck fight lak two hells". Francois says, "No more Spitz; no more trouble, sure." They simply comment on what cannot be fixed and plan to continue on. When the lead dog's place is given to another dog, Buck refuses to be part of the team. Francois and Perrault try to coax, to catch, to punish, to curse Buck into his usual place in the team which Buck will not do. When he is given the lead dog spot, and the clubs thrown down, Buck becomes the new leader. The two men react with resigned consent, and finally get the team on the trail. Buck is now the new leader, a better leader than Spitz, and the two men are happy with the faster pace and controlled team.
One of the most interesting things about Call of the Wild is how London is able to make the dogs into distinct characters while refusing to anthropomorphize them. While Francois and Perrault are humans and nominally in charge of the team, the real power lies in the dogs, their leader, Spitz, and his rival, Buck. The two men even seem to recognize this themselves; they understand the power politics within the team and even comment on the coming conflict between Buck and Spitz. When Buck finally defeats Spitz, however, the men (rather stupidly) make another dog, Sol-Leks, the leader. Buck refuses to accept this; he fought Spitz for leadership, and will accept nothing less. After an hour of trying to get Buck to take his usual place in the traces, the men finally give up and make Buck the leader. Buck proves to be an even better lead dog than Spitz: as Francois says after a few day with Buck in the lead, "'Nevaire such a dog as dat Buck!' he cried. 'No, nevaire! Heem worth one t’ousan’ dollair, by Gar! Eh? Wot you say, Perrault?'"
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