Analysis Pages

Plot in The Call of the Wild

Plot Examples in The Call of the Wild:

Chapter I

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"But Buck did not read the newspapers..."   (Chapter I)

This echo of the story’s first sentence loops back to the plot after these first few paragraphs of backstory or initial situation. The variation of adding the gardener as a threat allows the repetition to serve also as a springboard from context to plot tension.

"Spitz ran out his tongue and laughed again, and from that moment Buck hated him with a bitter and deathless hatred...."   (Chapter II)

Notice that this is the first instance in the novel that we are given a tangible antagonist. Spitz is characterized as confrontational and mean-spirited and readers are told directly that Buck hates him in this passage. This foreshadows later confrontation between the two characters.

"went suddenly mad..."   (Chapter III)

Remember Francois’s concern that the wild dogs, who managed to bite all of the sled dogs, may carry rabies or other diseases. Here, Francois’s fear rapidly turns to fact.

"Then three or four western bad men aspired to clean out the town, were riddled like pepper-boxes for their pains, and public interest turned to other idols...."   (Chapter IV)

As a prosperous gold rush town, Skaguay was a destination for miners and, consequently, a target for robbers. Here, we see the kind of punishment dealt to criminals. A few men tried to rob the various industries around town but are shot—their bodies afterward resembling pepper-boxes, referring to the holes in a household pepper grinder. The heroes of this event overshadow Buck’s team and their accomplishments after a few days of being celebrated for their quick run.

Analysis Pages