"The Call of the Wild," Vocabulary from Chapter 5

Jack London's "Call of the Wild" takes us to the Yukon during The Gold Rush where a domesticated dog must shed his civilized ways to become a proper sled dog (etext found here).

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapter 5, Chapters 6-7

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. wretched
    characterized by physical misery
    They were in a wretched state, worn out and worn down.
  2. prolonged
    relatively long in duration; tediously protracted
    It was not the dead-tiredness that comes through brief and excessive effort, from which recovery is a matter of hours; but it was the dead-tiredness that comes through the slow and prolonged strength drainage of months of toil.
  3. totter
    move without being stable, as if threatening to fall
    "Mush on, poor sore feets," the driver encouraged them as they tottered down the main street of Skaguay.
  4. interval
    a definite length of time marked off by two instants
    Themselves, they had covered twelve hundred miles with two days' rest, and in the nature of reason and common justice they deserved an interval of loafing.
  5. congested
    overfull as with blood
    But so many were the men who had rushed into the Klondike, and so many were the sweethearts, wives, and kin that had not rushed in, that the congested mail was taking on Alpine proportions; also, there were official orders.
  6. remonstrance
    the act of expressing earnest opposition or protest
    Mercedes continually fluttered in the way of her men and kept up an unbroken chattering of remonstrance and advice.
  7. abide
    When they put a clothes-sack on the front of the sled, she suggested it should go on the back; and when they had put it on the back, and covered it over with a couple of other bundles, she discovered overlooked articles which could abide nowhere else but in that very sack, and they unloaded again.
  8. unwieldy
    difficult to use or handle because of size or weight
    The overloaded and unwieldy sled forged ahead, Buck and his mates struggling frantically under the rain of blows.
  9. unjust
    not equitable or fair
    They were angry because of the ill treatment they had received and the unjust load.
  10. thoroughfare
    a public road from one place to another
    The capsized sled ground over him, and the dogs dashed on up the street, adding to the gayety of Skaguay as they scattered the remainder of the outfit along its chief thoroughfare.
  11. aver
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    She averred she would not go an inch, not for a dozen Charleses.
  12. computation
    the procedure of calculating
    And on no day did they succeed in making more than half the distance used by the men as a basis in their dog-food computation.
  13. cajole
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    And to cap it all, when Mercedes, with tears in her pretty eyes and a quaver in her throat, could not cajole him into giving the dogs still more, she stole from the fish-sacks and fed them slyly.
  14. amenities
    things that make you comfortable and at ease
    By this time all the amenities and gentlenesses of the Southland had fallen away from the three people.
  15. dispute
    a disagreement or argument about something important
    Starting from a dispute as to which should chop a few sticks for the fire (a dispute which concerned only Charles and Hal), presently would be lugged in the rest of the family, fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, people thousands of miles away, and some of them dead.
  16. chivalrous
    attentive and honorable like an ideal knight
    But the present treatment by her husband and brother was everything save chivalrous.
  17. squaw
    an American Indian woman
    At the Five Fingers the dog-food gave out, and a toothless old squaw offered to trade them a few pounds of frozen horse-hide for the Colt's revolver that kept the big hunting-knife company at Hal's hip.
  18. insensible
    unaware of or indifferent to
    In their very great misery they had become insensible to the bite of the lash or the bruise of the club.
  19. innocuous
    not causing disapproval
    With the dogs falling, Mercedes weeping and riding, Hal swearing innocuously, and Charles's eyes wistfully watering, they staggered into John Thornton's camp at the mouth of White River.
  20. terse
    brief and to the point
    He whittled and listened, gave monosyllabic replies, and, when it was asked, terse advice.
  21. alter
    cause to change; make different
    It was idle, he knew, to get between a fool and his folly; while two or three fools more or less would not alter the scheme of things.
  22. inarticulate
    without or deprived of the use of speech or words
    And then, suddenly, without warning, uttering a cry that was inarticulate and more like the cry of an animal, John Thornton sprang upon the man who wielded the club.
  23. convulse
    move or stir about violently
    John Thornton stood over Buck, struggling to control himself, too convulsed with rage to speak.
  24. evince
    give expression to
    Thornton stood between him and Buck, and evinced no intention of getting out of the way.
  25. disclose
    expose to view as by removing a cover
    By the time his search had disclosed nothing more than many bruises and a state of terrible starvation, the sled was a quarter of a mile away.

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