Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

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Refer to several details in the first paragraph of chapter 3, “The Dominant Primordial Beast,” to explain how Buck “destroyed the solidarity of the team.” Cite evidence that is directly stated in the text, and also make inferences to support your explanation. You must write in complete sentences and they should be detailed.

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In the classic short novel The Call of the Wild by Jack London, a large dog named Buck is stolen from a pastoral home in the Santa Clara Valley in California and transported to the Klondike to be sold as a sled dog. He is sold to Francois and Perrault, who are dispatchers working for the Canadian government.

Buck quickly learns how to survive in the severe environmental conditions of the frozen North. However, a rivalry begins between Buck and Spitz, the leader of the team of sled dogs. In his bid to replace Spitz for leadership, Buck destroys the solidarity of the team in several ways.

The first paragraph of chapter 3 refers to several traits that Buck possesses that make it possible for him to deliberately destroy the solidarity of the team so he can challenge Spitz. For instance, it refers to "cunning" that gives Buck "poise and control." He uses this cunning to wait until the proper time to make his move. He avoids fights whenever possible. He manifests "deliberateness" instead of "rashness." London writes that Buck "betrayed no impatience" but rather takes his time in taking action on his "bitter hatred."

On one occasion, as described later in the chapter, Buck leaps upon Spitz when Spitz attempts to punish a malingering dog. In the following days, Buck continues to interfere when Spitz tries to discipline the team, but only when the human masters are not watching.

In the days that followed, as Dawson grew closer and closer, Buck still continued to interfere between Spitz and the culprits; but he did it craftily, when Francois was not around.

Buck's subversion of Spitz's leadership causes general insubordination among the dogs so that unity is damaged: "Trouble was always afoot, and at the bottom of it was Buck." The constant quarreling among the dogs even affects the human Francois, who is concerned that a fight to the death will break out between Buck and Spitz.

Buck's defiance makes the other dogs also challenge Spitz's authority. They rob food from Spitz, and they fight back when he attempts to discipline them.

Finally, when the dogs are out chasing a rabbit, Buck and Spitz have their long-anticipated fight. Buck kills Spitz, assumes leadership of the team, and restores the team's solidarity.

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