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Chapter Two - Part Two

The first night, Buck is unable to sleep, as it is bitterly cold outside and the men do not allow the dogs in their tent. He circles the camp, but is unable to find a warm place. Shivering uncontroallably, he returns to the area surrounding his masters' tent, but cannot find the other dogs. He wanders around and is warned by a few tired, snarling dogs to stay away. Eventually, forlorn, he sinks down into the snow and finds the rest of his team curled up together there. After a night full of nightmares, he awakens with a start, and the events of the last few days come flooding back to him. Perrault and Francois see him emerge from his sleeping nest, and note how quickly he learns. They are pleased, as the dog will be carrying important dispatches for the Canadian government, a job that requires the best dogs. After three more dogs are added to the team, they start off. Buck is surprised at how animated the team is, especially Dave and Sol-leks, who become alert and active. They seem delighted to be out on the trail. Buck is placed between the two dogs, who become his teachers, nipping him when he makes a mistake. Their student soon learns it is better to follow their instructions than to retaliate.
They make their way through forty miles of deep snow and icy glaciers before they retire for the night. For the next few days, Perrault has to go ahead of them to pack a trail, and the work is harder and slower for the dogs. Though Buck receives more food than the other dogs, he is not yet used to the paltry rations, and lives in constant hunger. He soon abandons the picky eating habits he had enjoyed in Santa Clara, and learns to eat quickly and steal food, and congratulates himself on his ability to adapt to his new life. He has been changed by the blows of the man in the red sweater, and now also lives by the law of club and fang. He does things now because he has to in order to survive. Physically, he changes quite rapidly; his "retrogression" into a more primitive animal comes quickly out of necessity. His muscles harden and he becomes immune to pain; he learns to eat anything and to extract nutrients from all food. His senses become keen, and he learns to bite the ice from his frozen feet. Instincts that he had never been forced to use suddenly reappear in his savage life. His sharp, quick manner of fighting, and long, slow howls at the moon are reminiscent of his ancestors. Latent instincts come back to life, and the characteristics of his ancestors manifest themselves in the changes Buck. The chapter ends with a poetic look at the "ancient song" that, long forgotten, again surges through the young dog.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter One - Part One
Chapter One - Part Two
Chapter Two - Part One
Chapter Two - Part Two
Chapter Three - Part One
Chapter Three - Part Two
Chapter Four - Part One
Chapter Four - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part One
Chapter Five - Part Two
Chapter Five - Part Three
Chapter Five - Part Four
Chapter Six - Part One
Chapter Six - Part Two
Chapter Six - Part Three
Chapter Six - Part Four
Chapter Seven - Part One
Chapter Seven - Part Two
Chapter Seven - Part Three
Chapter Seven - Part Four


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