Chapter 1: Into the Primitive Summary Buck, a Saint Bernard-Scotch shepherd mix, lived the good life on Judge Miller’s ranch in the Santa Clara Valley until he was kidnapped by Manuel, a gardener’s assistant with a gambling problem. Manuel shipped Buck north to become a sled dog in the Yukon Territories. In Seattle Buck was broken by a man with a club, providing him with the first lesson in his savage new life. There he and Curly, a good-natured Newfoundland, were purchased by Perrault and François who were couriers for the Canadian Government. On board the Narwhal, Buck and Curly joined Spitz and Dave, two other dogs, for the journey north. Arriving in the Yukon, Buck experiences snow for the first time.
For each word marked with an asterisk (*), find where it is used in the book and copy it onto a piece of paper. Next, write your own sentence that uses that word. All the marked words will be on a vocabulary test January 6th.
Chapter 1: Into the Primitive Arbors- n. vines
Aristocrat- n. wealthy person
Array- n. an orderly arrangement
Artesian well- n. a well drilled through impermeable layer to reach water capable of rising to the surface by internal hydrostatic pressure
*Calamity- n. disaster
Cayuses- n. small Western horses used by cowboys
Conciliated- v. made friends with
Conveyance- n. means of transportation
*Culprit- n. a person guilty of a crime
Demesne- n. lands of an estate
Docilely- adv. Yieldingly to treatment or handling
*Dominion- n. the exercise of control
*Genial- adj. friendly
*Impending- v. likely or due to happen
Imperiously- adv. urgently
Incurious- adj. not curious
Insular- adj. Isolated; detached
Kindred- n. family
Latent- adj. present or potential
Legion- n. a large number
*Metamorphosed- v. changed or transformed
Paddocks- n. enclosed fields in which horses are exercised
Populous- adj. many people
Primitive- adj. very basic
*Progeny- n. children
*Prowess- n. superior ability
Revelation- n. something revealed or learned
Ruction- n. quarrel or noisy disturbance
*Sated- adj. fully satisfied
Slaver- n. saliva
Soliloquized- v. talked to one’s self
Square-head- n. slang a Scandinavian or a German
Tidewater- n. seacoast
*Treachery- n. betrayal
Uncowed- adj. not frightened
Unwonted- adj. unusual
Weazened- adj. wizened; shriveled; withered
Wheedlingly- adv. attempting to persuade
During his first few days in the Yukon, Buck had to learn many lessons to survive under the frigid north’s unwritten “law of club and fang.” He learned from watching Curley’s violent death that the husky dogs of the north fought like wolves and that to be knocked off your feet in a fight was a death sentence.
He learned how to pull a sled after François harnessed him between Dave and Spitz (the lead dog) who were seasoned sled dogs. François, Dave, and Spitz were stern teachers who taught Buck by punishing his mistakes with fangs and whip. When Perrault added three more dogs to the team, Buck learned by watching how they got along with the other dogs.
Billie and Joe were brothers. Billie was good-natured and was quickly bullied by Spitz. Joe met Spitz’s aggression with snarls and growls so terrible that Spitz left him alone. The third dog, Sol-leks (the angry one) was a grizzled veteran who only wanted to be left alone to do his job. Buck learned the hard way not to approach Sol-leks on his blind side. From Billie, Buck learned how to build a warm nest in the snow to survive the frigid nights.
In the next few days, the team traveled forty miles per day. Harnessed between Dave and Sol-leks, Buck learned even more about being a sled dog when they rewarded his every mistake with snarls and bites. Buck’s final lesson moved him another step from his previous “civilized” life. He learned to guard his food fiercely and to eat it quickly before other dogs could steal it. The “law of club and fang” also taught him to become an accomplished thief who would steal food from human or dog with no remorse. As much as he learned from watching, Buck’s survival was aided by an awakening of “instincts long dead.” Quickly he became more and more like his wild ancestors.
For each word marked with an asterisk (*), find where it is used in the book and copy it onto a piece of paper. Next, write your own sentence that uses that word. All the marked words will be on a vocabulary test in January.
Chapter 2: The Law of the Club and Fang
Appeasingly /appeasement- adv./n. trying to please
*Cadence- n. beat or rhythm of movement
Disconsolate- adj. hopelessly sad
Draft animal- adj./n. an animal used for hauling heavy loads
Fastidiousness- n. carefulness in all details
*Gaunt- adj. haggard and emaciated
Ignominiously- adv. shamefully
Introspective- adj. given to private thought
Malignant- adj. actively evil in nature
*Malingerer- n. one who pretends to be ill in order to escape work
Placatingly- adv. appeasingly giving in easily
Primordial- adj. primitive
*Reproof- n. scold
Retrogression- n. the act of deteriorating
*Vicarious- adj. substituted from one thing for another
Answer each of the following questions in COMPLETE sentences.
1. Why was Buck's first day in Alaska like a nightmare?
2. How did Curly die?
3. Why did Buck hate Spitz?
4. How did Francois and Perrault work Buck?
5. How were the dogs Dave and Sol-leks alike?
6. How did Buck sleep in the snow?
7. What was Perrault's job?
8. Why was Buck hitched between Dave and Sol-leks on the sled-dog team?
9. When Francois guided the sled, how did Perrault help?
10. Why was Buck always hungry, even though he received a daily ration of 1-1/2 lbs.of
11. Why was it okay to steal in "The Law of Club and Fang"?
12. Besides experience, how did Buck learn?
13. Give examples of Buck learning with experience and learning with instinct.
14. Essay: Imagine and describe how Buck's life would have been if he'd stayed at Judge Miller's place. (one paragraph)