What do red and white symbolize in Chapter 3 of The Call of the Wild?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter III, "The Dominant Primordial Beast," Buck returns completely to his atavistic form as he at last defeats his enemy, the white husky, Spitz. Throughout this chapter, then, there are splashes of the imagery of red and white, that strike in and out of the narrative, flashes of blood, flashes of the "red sweater" that Buck remembers as disciplining him and conquering his will; there are chilling images of frost and snow and white teeth and a snowshoe rabbit screaming

harking them back through the ages of fire...and the raw beginnings of life in the howling ages.

In this chapter Spitz, who feels that Buck is a threat to his leadership of the pack, bides his time until he can attack and kill this large lead dog. So, both red and white symbolize the harshness of the arctic, the meanness of the trainer in the red sweater and the blood lust of the wild animal--"[I]n passsion to rend and destroy"--and as the fierceness both of the bitter cold and harsh climate --"the white woods" and the ghostly calm"--and the temperaments of the animals that inhabit it.   

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The Call of the Wild

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