Illustration of Buck in the snow with mountains in the background

The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

Start Free Trial

Why is the team sold by Francois and Perrault and to whom are they sold in The Call of the Wild? Basically, why is the team sold by Francois and Perrault, and who is it sold to?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the classic short novel The Call of the Wild by Jack London, a dog named Buck is stolen from his warm comfortable home in the Santa Clara Valley in California and taken to the Klondike region of Canada to be used as a sled dog. Francois and Perrault, who work for the Canadian government as mailmen, are the first people to buy Buck. While he is with these men, Buck learns to survive in the cold North and eventually becomes the leader of the dog team.

Buck and the rest of the dog team are sold by Francois and Perrault in Skagway. The reason is that the two mail carriers have to continue on with fresh mail to deliver, so they pick up new dogs because Buck and his team are too tired to go on. London writes of the dogs:

Every muscle, every fiber, every cell, was tired, dead tired. And there was reason for it. In less than five months they had traveled twenty-five hundred miles, during the last eighteen hundred of which they had but five days' rest.

Buck and the team are sold to three Americans named Hal, Charles, and Mercedes. They are newcomers to the North and have no idea how to take care of a dog team. Their sled is overloaded and despite the weariness of the dogs, they give them no rest and don't feed them properly. One by one their dogs die on the trail. Eventually Buck also drops, half-dead, and his next owner, John Thornton, cuts his traces. The Americans with the rest of the team attempt to cross a river in spring thaw, break through the ice, and drown.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After Buck killed Spitz and took control of the sled team, they made record time on their journey to Skaguay, and they were the toast of the town. Francois and Perrault had their fill of free drinks, and the dogs were hailed by the "worshipful crowd of dog-busters and mushers." But it was the end of Buck's association with the two French men who had put their trust in him. They had "official orders": A new man would take over the team and the next mail route, joining "a dozen other dog teams" in delivering the mail to Dawson. By the time the teams had made their return trip to Skaguay, the dogs were worn out, so they were sold to a pair of newcomers to the area--Hal and Charles.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team