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Call of the Wild Chapter 1 Summary

The story begins in the fall of 1897, at the time of the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck is a large, four year old, one- hundred and forty pound dog, who lives on a ranch owned by Judge Miller in Santa Clara, California, some forty miles south of San Fransciso. Buck, is part St. Bernard and part Scotch Shepherd.

Unlike the other smaller dogs on the ranch, Buck is allowed to roam over the entire property. He goes into the swimming tank, hunts with the Judge’s sons, and escorts the Judge’s daughters on their morning walks. In winter he lies at the feet of Judge in front of the fire in the library. He is like a king who lords it over all the other creatures, and is treated with respect by everyone.

One night, when no one is around, a gardner takes Buck on a walk with a rope on his neck and sells him to a strange man. Buck growls, and is surprised when the man tightens the rope and chokes him. This is the first time Buck has ever been treated badly. He bites the man’s hand, but can’t get away. Buck is put on a train to Seattle with nothing to eat or drink. He’s angry about how he’s being treated.

In the morning, four men come to pick up the crate. They amuse themselves by poking sticks at him. Buck is conveyed to a railway depot, where he is placed in an express car. He stays there for two days and nights, during which he neither eats nor drinks. He is bundled off the train at Seattle, where a man in a red sweater takes charge of him. The man lets Buck out the cage, and Buck attacks him in fury, but the man brutally beats him into submission with a club. Buck is beaten but his spirit is not broken. In the days that follow, more dogs arrive. One day a man named Perrault buys Buck for $300. He can see that Buck is special. He also buys another dog, Curly, and they all travel by boat with a man named Francois, and two other dogs.

The dogs are turned over to Francois, a swarthy French-Canadian. Buck learns to respect both men, since they are calm and fair. There are two other dogs on the ship, a big dog from Spitzbergen, and a gloomy one named Dave. ‘ Buck encounters snow for the first time.

Call of the Wild Chapter 1 Summary Word Meanings

  • Demesne – Domain
  • Populous – With many people, populated
  • Imperiously – Like a king
  • Sated – Filled up, full
  • Insular – Protected, inexperienced
  • Progeny – Children, offspring
  • Deft – Skilled
  • Futilely – Unsuccessfully
  • Vilely – Rudely
  • Hydrophobia – Rabies
  • Impending – Soon to happen
  • Calamity – Disaster
  • Surcharged – Charged over normal price
  • Primitive – Not sophisticated, uncivilized
  • Dormant – Hidden, buried

Call of the Wild Chapter 1 Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
Why did Perrault purchase Buck?
Perrault was a courier for the Canadian government. He needed dogs, so that his packages could reach faster. Moreover, he estimated that Buck is one in ten thousand. He (Perrault) could understand that Buck is a bully dog.

Question  2.
Why were the onlookers laughing when Buck first stepped on to the deck when the propeller stopped ?
When the propeller stopped, Buck’s feet sank into a white mush, Buck had seen the snow for the first time. He sniffed it, and licked it. It bit like fire. He was puzzled. He tried again, but with the same result. The onlookers roared with laughter.

Question  3.
How did Manuel ensure that Buck obeyed the stranger at the rail flag station ?
No one saw Manuel and Buck arrive at the little rail flag station. The stranger talked to Manuel. Buck accepted the rope with quiet dignity, because he had learnt to trust the men he knew. This was enough for Manuel to be sure that Buck obeyed the stranger.

Question  4.
What is Buck’s introduction to the primitive law ?
The first chapter is called “Into the Primitive” and rightly so. In short, Buck’s introduction to the primitive law comes when he observes a pack of dogs fighting early on in the novel”. Buck lives a very civilized life until Manuel kidnaps him. He does not expect to have to go into the primitive, where he will need to rely on his animal instincts to survive. Jack London has established Buck as a product of civilization. This is indicated in Chapter 1 – “Into the Primitive”. Buck had not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing.

Question  5.
How does Buck maintain some measure of pride in Chapter 1?
Buck had a fine pride in himself. He was a trifle egotistical. When the unsuspecting Buck is stolen from his owner and sold to become a sled dog, Buck is surprised, to understand that Manuel, a gardener on Judge Miller’s estate a person on whom Buck had trust would do this unreliable task. Buck attacks the stranger, he bites the man’s hand, and does not eat or drink for two days and two nights. The facts of life took him on a fiercer aspect and he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature, thus maintaining his pride.

Extract Based Questions

Question  1.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
And this was the manner of dog Buck in the fall of 1897, when the Klondike Strike dragged men from all the world into the frozen North.
(i) What is meant by, ‘the Klondike Strike’? Why did it attract men to the frozen North? Why did these men require dogs?
(ii) Who is Buck? Give a brief description of his parents.
(iii) What act of treachery does Manuel, the gardener’s assistant commit? Why does he do this ?
(iv) Name the men who buy Buck from the man in the red sweater. What does Buck learn of their nature?
(v) Describe Buck’s first encounter with snow. How does it serve as an introduction to what lies ahead of him in the days to come?
(i) This was the manner of dog Buck in the fall of 1897, when the Klondike Strike dragged men from all the world. Men grouping in the Aritic darkness had found a yellow metal, this attracted men from all over the world into the Frozen North. These men required heavy dogs with story muscles to toil, because other animals could not be used easily on the snow.

(ii) Bulk was a four year old dog. He was neither a house dog nor a kennel dog. The whole area was his. Buck’s father, Elmo, was a huge Saint Bernard and Buck’s mother was a huge Scotch shepherd dog.

(iii) Manuel, the Judge’s gardener, sells Buck to a stranger in exchange of money, committing a treacherous act. Manuel has acquired huge gambling debts so he kidnaps Buck and sells him.

(iv) Perrault bought Buck from the man in the red sweater. Buck learnt that Perrault and Francois were fair men and familiar with the way of the dogs.

(v) When Buck first time met with snow, he got many beneath his forelegs with a sour. He sprang back fearful of the unseen. There, curled up under the snow in a snug bell lay Billee. Finally Buck slept well, in a hold that he himself dug.

Question 2.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Buck lived at a big house in the sun-kissed Santa Clara Valley, Judge Miller’s place, as was called. It stood back from the road, half hidden among the trees, through which glimpses could be caught of the wide cool verandah that ran around its four sides. The house was approached by gravelled driveways which wound about through wide spreading lawns and under the inter lacing boughs of tall poplars. At the rear, things were on even a more spacious scale than at the front.
(i) What does the above extract state?
(ii) What is the tone of the above paragraph?
(iii) What is Buck’s life like at Judge Miller’s place ?
(iv) What type of dog was Buck ?
(v) What is Judge Miller’s relationship with Buck?
(i) The above extract has been taken from chapter 1 – Into the Primitive, from the novel ‘The Call of the Wild’ written by Jack London. The complete novel states about a dog named Buck.

(ii) The above paragraph states that the first chapter of the novel sets the tone for the rest of the book. According to Educators, it explores the central tension between the primitive and civilized in London.

(iii) Buck lived a pampered life at Judge Miller’s place. Buck was not always a sheep dog. Before he was kidnapped, he was a pampered house pet. His master Judge Miller was a wealthy person and lived on a large farm in the Santa Clara Valley.

(iv) Buck was neither a house dog nor a kennel dog. The whole area was his. He ruled over the great estate of Judge Miller.

(v) Judge Miller was Buck’ first owner. Buck was born at the farm and lived for four years. His father, Elmo, had been Judge’s inseparable companion. His mother, shop, had been a scotch shepherd dog. So in short, Judge Miller and Buck, both had a very important relationship.

Question 3.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Buck had accepted the rope with great dignity. To be sure, it was an unwanted performance; but he had learned to
trust in men he knew, and to give them credit for a wisdom that outreached his own.
(i) Who was Manuel?
(ii) Why did Manuel kidnap and sell Buck?
(iii) How did Buck react to the stranger’s rope?
(iv) What was Manuel’s one sin?
(v) How would you describe Buck as stated in the above extract?
(i) In chapter 1 – ‘Into the Primitive’ of the novel “The call of the wild” written by Jack London, Manuel was the Gardener’s helper who stole Buck away from Judge Miller’s place in Santa Clara, Valley of California. Manuel was a gambler.

(ii) Manuel has acquired huge gambling debts, and his wages were not even enough to support his family. So he kidnaps and sells Buck to a man who will sell him to be trained as a sled dog.

(iii) Manuel ties a stout rope around Buck’s neck. When the stranger tries to take the rope, Buck growls and the rope tightens around his neck. His strength sagged and his eyes glazed. He had never been so angry.

(iv) Manuel’s had one sin. He loved to play Chinese lottery. To play, he required money, and his wages were not even enough to support his family.

(v) In the introductory part of Jack’s London’s hard-edged and naturalistic adventure, Buck is first described as a large dog of one hundred and forty pounds, who is a St. Bernard Shepherd mix. “He had a fine pride in himself, and was ever a trifle egotistical”.

Question 4.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
They were a new kind of men to Buck and while he developed no affection for them, he none the less grew honestly justice, and too wise in the way of dogs to befooled by dogs.
(i) Why was there a sudden demand for heavy and furry dogs?
(ii) Why did the Man in the Red Sweater take Buck out of his crate and what lesson did he teach Buck?
(iii) Who bought Buck? At what cost? For what purpose?
(iv) How did Buck behave when he was imprisoned ?
(v) What puzzled Buck when he stepped onto the deck of the Narwhal ?
(i) In chapter 1 of the Novel “The Call of the Wild” written by Jack London, we come to understand that there is a sudden demand for heavy and furry dogs. The reason behind is that the novel picturises the hilly area. People travelling through Alaska wanted a form of transportation, and heavy and furry dogs are best suited to this climate.

(ii) The man in the Red Sweater threw Buck out of his crate, as Buck was furious in the beginning and would not give up. This man in the Red Sweater taught Buck that he was the law maker and Buck had to obey him.

(iii) Perrault bought Buck for $300, to teach him how to be a sled dog, to carry mail he needed to deliver for the Canadian government. Buck quickly learnt that his new masters were fair enough and familiar with the ways of the dogs.

(iv) Buck neither ate nor drank for two days and nights. His eyes turned blood shot and he transformed into a raging fiend. He was snarling and growling furiously, anxious to get out.

(v) On the deck, Buck’s feet sank into a white mush. It bit like fire and in the next instant, was gone. This puzzled him. In short, Buck was puzzled by the atmosphere and the climate and the snow; since it was his first snow.