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Call of the Wild Chapter 5 Summary

After arriving at Skagway from Dawson for the second time, the dogs are in a wretched state. The journey took one month. Buck has lost twenty-five pounds in weight. Within four days, Buck and his mates are sold to Charles, a middle-aged man, and Hal, a man of about nineteen. Travelling with the men is Mercedes, who is Charles’s wife and Hal’s sister.

Buck’s new owners are incompetent, and overload the sled. The dogs are unable to move it. Hal calls them lazy and whips them, although Mercedes tries to persuade him not to. An onlooker suggests that Hal help the dogs by freeing the runners of the sled that are frozen in the snow.

When this is done, the dogs are able to pull the sled, but it is so badly loaded, it overturns. The owners reluctantly cut the load in half, and acquire six more dogs, making a total of fourteen. The newcomers, are not of much use, however, and nor does Buck have his heart in the work.

He knows he cannot depend on his new masters, because they do not know how to do anything.They are barely travelling ten miles a day, and it is inevitable they will run short on dog food. One of the dogs,Dub, is injured, and Hal shoots him. Six dogs die of starvation. As the going gets tougher, the three travellers fall to quarrelling.

Mercedes insists on riding on the sled, which adds intolerably to the load pulled by the weak and starving dogs. Hal, Charles and Mercedes are insensitive to the suffering of the animals. But the seven remaining dogs continue to pull the sled, despite their ill-treatment. One day Billie falls and cannot get up. Hal kills him with an axe and cuts him out of the traces. The team knows this fate approaches. The next day Koona goes, but the five remaining struggle on, despite their serious pains. The spring weather is beautiful, but no one can take notice of it.

The ice on the river is beginning to break up, but they manage to reach the camp of John Thornton at the mouth of White River. Thornton tells them to take no more chances on the melting ice. Hal refuses to take his advice and wants to continue. But he cannot persuade his exhausted dogs to get up, so he whips them until they begin to move. But Buck refuses. Hal takes up the club, but Buck will not move. He is too numb.

Thornton intervenes, striking Hal, and telling Hal he will kill him if he hits the dog again. Hal draws a knife, but Thornton knocks it out of his hand. Hal decides to make off without Buck. They pull out from the bank and start off down the river. After a quarter of a mile, the ice break up and the men and dogs are all drowned.

Call of the Wild Chapter 5 Summary Word Meanings:

  • Totter – Move without being stable
  • Congested – Overfull as with blood
  • Remonstrance – The act of expressing earnest opposition
  • Unwieldy – Difficult to us because of size or weight
  • Aver – Declare
  • Computation – The procedure of calculating
  • Cajole – Influence or flattering
  • Squaw – An American Indian woman
  • Innocuous – Not causing disapproval
  • Terse – Brief
  • Inarticulate – Deprived of the use of speech
  • Convulse – Stir about violently
  • Evince – Give expression to
  • Wretched – Characterized by physical misery

Call of the Wild Chapter 5 Summary Questions and Answers

Question 1.
Who is the new owner of Buck? Describe the situation of Buck’s sale again briefly.
The new owner of Buck is a team, in fact a family of amateur settlers who are “out of place” in Northland. They are Hal, Charles and Hercedes. The sled dog team arrives at Skaguay, thirty days later and the dogs are weary.

Question 2.
How do the new masters behave with of the dog team ?
The dogs are taken to the camp, where Hal’s sister and Charles’ wife, Mercedes loads up the sled with pots, pans clothes and tents. The sled is so heavy that the dogs cannot pull it. Hal proceeds attempting to spur the dogs forward with his whip.

Question 3.
Why does Buck distrust his new owners ?
Buck distrusts his new owners, observing that they are undisciplined, disorderly, and unable to learn. Because Hal miscalculates their rations. Hal, Charles and Mercedes constantly squabble making them “callous” to the suffering of their animals.

Question 4.
Why do Hal, Charles and Mercedes perish ?
Hal, Charles and Mercedes ultimately perish because they disrespect nature. They refuse to relinguish their possessions, they ignore the warnings of melting ice, and Hal nearly kills Buck. Buck follows his intuition, emphasizing that his feral senses are strong. Buck’s survival process that not all masters are worthy. Thornton’s brave rescue of Buck shows that he is worthy to take up ownership of Buck.

Question 5.
Explain the statement, “The most important thing of this world seemed fear”.
The vision of the strange man from the other world came to Buck frequently. The hairy man could spring up into the trees, and travel just as fast on the ground-never falling, never missing his grip. In fact, he seemed as much at home among the trees as on the ground. And similar to the visions of the hairy man was the call, still sounding in the depths of the forest, filling Buck with great- unrest. This is very clear by the end of the chapter, “The most important thing of this world seemed fear.”

Extract Based Questions

Question 1.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
Three days passed, by which time Buck and his mates found how really tired and weak they were. Then, on the morning of the fourth day, two men from the States came along and bought them, harness and all for a song. The men addressed each other as “Hal” and “Charles”.
(i) Give the reference of the above extract?
(ii) Describe Charles.
(iii) Charles and Hal’s camp is in what condition when Buck and the sled-dogs enter it?
(iv) Who quickly made friends with Buck?
(v) What advice do the men from the neighbouring states give to Charles, Hal, and Mercedes regarding their
load on the dog sleds?
(i) The above extract has been taken from chapter 5, ‘The Toil of Trace and Trail’ of the novel, “The Call of the Wild”, written by. Jack London. In the introductory part of the chapter, Hal and Charles purchase the sled- dog team from the Scotch half-bread.

(ii) In chapter-5, Charles is described as a middle aged, light coloured man, with weak and watery eyes and a moustache that twisted fiercely and vigorously and concealed the dropping lip.

(iii) When Buck and the sled-dogs enter the camp of Charles, and Hal’s, the author describes the camp as ship shod and slovenly, the tent is half stretched, the dishes are kept unwashed and everything is in disorder.

(iv) Skeet, a little Irish setter, quickly made friends with Buck.As a mother cat washes her kittens, so she washed and cleansed Buck’s wounds. Nig, a huge black dog was
equally friendly with Buck.

(v) When the dogs are unable to pull the sleds, the men from the neighbouring tents lend a piece of advice to Charles, Hal and Mercedes. They tell them that the load was very heavy and the dogs are tired and they need rest. They tell them that it would be better if Charles and Hal would half the load and double the dogs.

Question 2.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
This was the first time Buck had failed, in itself a sufficient reason to drive Hal into a rage. He exchanged the whip
for the customary club. Buck refused to move under the rain of heavier blows which now fell upon him.
(i) Mercedes is Charles’ wife. She cries and implores Buck to pull harder to stop the whipping. She is too preoccupied with weeping over herself. She is never too tired of quarrelling with Charles and Hal. She is too soft and has been chivalrously treated all her life.

(ii) When the tent was loaded on the sledge, it was very heavy. Even Mercedes and Thornton felt that the load is top-heavy. The dogs were tired also, and weak. The dogs strained against the breast bands unable to move the sledges. Hal thinks the team’s inability to move the sledges were because the dogs were lazy. But in fact, the dogs were not lazy, the load was heavy and the dogs were exhausted.

(iii) ‘Black’ Burton picked up a quarrel with the newcomer, when Thornton stepped in. Burton struck out without warning. Buck rose as he attacked Burton. Burton was able to block Buck and his throat was torn open and from that day Buck become famous in Alaska and made up his reputation.

(iv) When Thornton was carried downstream, Pete and Hans attached a line to Buck’s neck and shoulders and launched him into the stream. Back pulled Thornton into the bank and had three broken ribs.

(v) Buck and half a dozen other dogs, John Thornton, Pete and Hans travelled to the East on an unknown trail. At the end of their wandering, they found a shallow mineral deposit in a broad valley. The gold showed like butter across the bottom of the washing-pan. The gold was stacked in moose-hide bags, and soon they had a heap of treasure.

Question 3.
Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow :
Thornton stood between him and Buck, and evinced no intention of getting out of the way. Hal drew his long hunting knife. Mercedes screamed, cried, laughed and manifested the chaotic abandonment of hysteria. Thornton rapped Hals knuckles with the axe-handle, knocking the knife to the ground. He rapped his knuckles again as he tried to pick it up. Then he stopped, picked it up himself, and with two strokes cut Buck’s traces.
(i) Describe the character of Mercedes?
(ii) Why were the dogs lazy?
(iii) How did Buck become famous in Alaska?
(iv) How did Buck break his ribs?
(v) What did the team find when they were searching for Thornton’s fabled mine?
(i) In the novel ‘The Call of the Wild’ written by Jack London, Hal is described as a youngster between nineteen and twenty. He is a person who is by nature known for his callowness.

(ii) John Thornton’s partners left him to camp alone the previous December, after he froze his feet and had difficulty in walking. He was limping. But before leaving him behind, his partners ensured that he was comfortable and could manage by himself.

(iii) Buck followed Thornton around for the simple reason that he had become deeply attached to him. Buck always returns to Thornton’s fireside, as he feels secured in the presence of Thornton.

(iv) At the end of all their wandering, Thornton and his team members, did not find the lost mine. They found a shallow mineral deposit in a broad valley. The gold showed like butter across the bottom of the washing pan.

(v) Buck feels a strong connection with Thornton, his final master and is deeply devoted to him. He finds Thornton fair towards him, whereas, he felt a kind of angry revulsion towards his previous masters. This also proves that even animals feel the love and care imparted to them.