Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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How are the Yeehats described in The Call of the Wild?  

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The author, Jack London, does not spend much time describing the Yeehats directly.  Essentially, they are the tribe of Indians that massacred the group of goldminers of which John Thornton was a part.  Buck is first aware of the presence of the Yeehats when he senses a "new stir in the land" bringing "a sense of calamity".  He first sets eyes on the tribe when they are "dancing about the wreckage of the sprucebough lodge" of the miners, celebrating their victory over the encroaching white men. 

The Yeehats are portrayed as primitive.  Despite their fierceness, they are "no match at all" for the fury of the wild creature Buck has become, despite "their arrows and spears and clubs".  They are elemental, a counterpart to nature in its most basic state, and their power cannot stand up to the raw, imposing strength of the wild.  To the Yeehats, Buck and the natural world he represents are fearful entities beyond their understanding.  They tell tales of a "Ghost Dog...(which) has cunning greater than they, stealing from their camps in fierce winters, robbing their traps, slaying their dogs, and defying their bravest hunters".  The Yeehats are representative of man, who lives, when all is said and done, at the mercy of nature.  Buck, as a creature who has abandoned himself to nature's ways, is the stuff of legend to them, beyond their comprehension (Chapter 7).

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