"The Call of the Wild" by Jack London, Chapters 3–4

In this action-packed adventure story, a domesticated dog must shed his civilized ways to become a proper sled dog during the Yukon Gold Rush. Read the full text here.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–2, Chapters 3–4, Chapter 5, Chapters 6–7

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. cunning
    shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
    His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.
  2. precipitate
    done with very great haste and without due deliberation
    He was not prone to rashness and precipitate action; and in the bitter hatred between him and Spitz he betrayed no impatience, shunned all offensive acts.
  3. occupy
    live in (a certain place)
    But when Buck finished his ration and returned, he found his nest occupied.
  4. skulk
    lie in wait or behave in a sneaky and secretive manner
    The camp was suddenly discovered to be alive with skulking furry forms,-- starving huskies, four or five score of them, who had scented the camp from some Indian village.
  5. beset
    assail or attack on all sides
    Buck was beset by three huskies, and in a trice his head and shoulders were ripped and slashed.
  6. malingerer
    someone shirking duty by feigning illness or incapacity
    Pike, the malingerer, leaped upon the crippled animal, breaking its neck with a quick flash of teeth and a jerk, Buck got a frothing adversary by the throat, and was sprayed with blood when his teeth sank through the jugular.
  7. evident
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    As Buck drew himself together to spring after them, out of the tail of his eye he saw Spitz rush upon him with the evident intention of overthrowing him.
  8. hoist
    raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help
    Perrault scaled it by a miracle, while Franĉois prayed for just that miracle; and with every thong and sled lashing and the last bit of harness rove into a long rope, the dogs were hoisted, one by one, to the cliff crest.
  9. wizened
    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    This was a great relief, and Buck caused even the weazened face of Perrault to twist itself into a grin one morning, when Franĉois forgot the moccasins and Buck lay on his back, his four feet waving appealingly in the air, and refused to budge without them.
  10. rejoinder
    a quick reply to a question or remark
    "Dat Buck two devils," was Franĉois's rejoinder.
  11. prosper
    make steady progress
    He alone endured and prospered, matching the husky in strength, savagery, and cunning.
  12. ambitious
    having a strong desire for success or achievement
    This was the pride of Dave as wheel-dog, of Sol-leks as he pulled with all his strength; the pride that laid hold of them at break of camp, transforming them from sour and sullen brutes into straining, eager, ambitious creatures; the pride that spurred them on all day and dropped them at pitch of camp at night, letting them fall back into gloomy unrest and uncontent.
  13. thrash
    give a beating to
    This was the pride that bore up Spitz and made him thrash the sled-dogs who blundered and shirked in the traces or hid away at harness-up time in the morning.
  14. unearth
    recover through digging
    But when he was at last unearthed, and Spitz flew at him to punish him, Buck flew, with equal rage, in between.
  15. ordained
    fixed or established especially by order or command
    It seemed the ordained order of things that dogs should work.
  16. defiance
    an act boldly resisting authority or an opposing force
    With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence.
  17. recuperate
    restore to good health or strength
    The week's rest had recuperated the dogs and put them in thorough trim.
  18. vexation
    anger produced by some annoying irritation
    But such splendid running was achieved not without great trouble and vexation on the part of Franĉois.
  19. solidarity
    a union of interests or purposes among members of a group
    The insidious revolt led by Buck had destroyed the solidarity of the team.
  20. propel
    cause to move forward with force
    All that stirring of old instincts which at stated periods drives men out from the sounding cities to forest and plain to kill things by chemically propelled leaden pellets, the blood lust, the joy to kill--all this was Buck's, only it was infinitely more intimate.
  21. rampant
    occurring or increasing in an unrestrained way
    He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars and over the face of dead matter that did not move.
  22. penetrate
    pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance
    Fang clashed fang, and lips were cut and bleeding, but Buck could not penetrate his enemy's guard.
  23. impending
    close in time; about to occur
    Only Spitz quivered and bristled as he staggered back and forth, snarling with horrible menace, as though to frighten off impending death.
  24. obdurate
    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
    Franĉois was obdurate, but when he turned his back Buck again displaced Sol-leks, who was not at all unwilling to go.
  25. excel
    distinguish oneself
    But it was in giving the law and making his mates live up to it, that Buck excelled.
  26. celerity
    a rate that is rapid
    At the Rink Rapids two native huskies, Teek and Koona, were added; and the celerity with which Buck broke them in took away Franĉois's breath.
  27. heredity
    the transmission of genetic factors to the next generation
    Far more potent were the memories of his heredity that gave things he had never seen before a seeming familiarity; the instincts (which were but the memories of his ancestors become habits) which had lapsed in later days, and still later, in him, quickened and become alive again.
  28. consultation
    a meeting to discuss a particular question or topic
    They talked it over at meal-time, and over their last pipes before going to bed, and one night they held a consultation.
  29. remnant
    a small part remaining after the main part no longer exists
    With the last remnant of his strength he managed to stagger along behind till the train made another stop, when he floundered past the sleds to his own, where he stood alongside Sol-leks.
  30. yearn
    have a desire for something or someone who is not present
    His strength left him, and the last his mates saw of him he lay gasping in the snow and yearning toward them.

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