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The Call of the Wild

Chapter 4

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47dogsled2
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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. His driver lingered a moment to get a light for his pipe from the man behind. Then he returned and started his dogs. They swung out on the trail with remarkable lack of exertion, turned their heads uneasily, and stopped in surprise. The driver was surprised, too; the sled had not moved. He called his comrades to witness the sight. Dave had bitten through both of Sol-lek's traces, and was standing directly in front of the sled in his proper place.Stop and Think!

48davehowl
d"They could hear him mournfully howling till they passed out of sight behind a belt of river timber."

He pleaded with his eyes to remain there. The driver was perplexed. His comrades talked of how a dog could break its heart through being denied the work that killed it, and recalled instances they had known, where dogs, too old for the toil, or injured, had died because they were cut out of the traces. Also, they held it a mercy, since Dave was to die anyway, that he should die in the traces, heart-easy and content. So he was harnessed in again, and proudly he pulled as of old, though more than once he cried out involuntarily from the bite of his inward hurt. Several times fell down and was dragged in the traces, and once the sled ran upon him so that he limped thereafter on one of his hind legs.

But he held out till camp was reached, when his driver made a place for him by the fire. Morning found him too weak to travel. At harness-up time he tried to crawl to his driver. By convulsive efforts he got on his feet, staggered, and fell. Then he wormed his way forward slowly toward where the harnesses were being put on his mates. He would advance his fore legs and drag up his body with a sort of hitching movement, when he would advance his fore legs and hitch ahead again for a few more inches. His strength left him, and the last his mates saw of him he lay gasping in the snow and yearning toward them. But they could hear him mournfully howling till they passed out of sight behind a belt of river timber.

Here the train was halted. The Scotch half-breed slowly retraced his steps to the camp they had left. The men ceased talking. A revolver-shot rang out. The man came back hurriedly. The whips snapped, the bells tinkled merrily, the sleds churned along the trail; but Buck knew, and every dog knew, what had taken place behind the belt of river trees.Stop and Think!

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Create your own summary. Use the Key Points list below or use the Text Help toolbar to highlight and collect key points you choose from the text. Then write a summary in your own words. You could also try sketching your summary.

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1. Buck convinces Francois and Perrault to give him the position of lead dog.

2. Buck proves to be a skilled leader, and the sled team makes it to Skaguay in record time.

3. A new master takes over the team.

4. Buck thinks about his ancestors and pre-historic times.

5. Dave gets sick but is allowed to continue with the sled team.

6. The heavy work load wears Dave down, and he must be put to sleep.

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Choose one of the strategies you've practiced here—visualize, summarize, predict, or question. Pick one that works well for you and is suited to the passage.

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Use the Text Help toolbar located above to highlight and collect the words and phrases. Paste them into your word processor and write, sketch, or discuss your response.


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Monty's Thoughts

When I formed my question I tried to ask about something important to the story, and it seemed that this section showed how much pride the dogs take in their roles as sled dogs. I think that the concept of pride is an important theme in the story.



Monty's Response

As I read this passage I asked myself why Dave would want to continue on if he was in so much pain. Dave could hardly walk, yet he wanted to be harnessed. When I answered it, I realized that Dave is proud of his responsibility as a sled dog and as a member of the sled team.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I created my question to ask, I started with a 'why' question word, because it seems to me that 'why' questions lead to in-depth answers that tell me more about the story.



Hali's Response

I asked myself why the driver would harness Dave even though he knew that Dave would die if he went to work. When I read on I understood that the driver wanted Dave to die doing what he loved; he wanted Dave to die with dignity.

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Pedro's Self Check

Do your questions—

Ask about something important, not trivial?

Get to the point?

Often start with a question word (who, what, when, why, how)?

Focus on parts of the text or illustrations?

Require a substantive answer, not just a 'yes or no'?

Ask about character, setting, key events, lessons learned, objectivity, bias, or perspective?

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

When I formed my question I tried to ask about something important to the story, and it seemed that this section showed how much pride the dogs take in their roles as sled dogs. I think that the concept of pride is an important theme in the story.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

When I created my question to ask, I started with a 'why' question word, because it seems to me that 'why' questions lead to in-depth answers that tell me more about the story.

Close Window


Pedro's Self Check

Do your questions—

Ask about something important, not trivial?

Get to the point?

Often start with a question word (who, what, when, why, how)?

Focus on parts of the text or illustrations?

Require a substantive answer, not just a 'yes or no'?

Ask about character, setting, key events, lessons learned, objectivity, bias, or perspective?

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

I really find it helpful to stop and ask myself questions about the story, especially when there is something that I don't understand very well. Stopping and forming a question can really help me because I try to answer my own question, and if I can't, I look up information in Resources or Strategy Help, or talk to a friend or teacher.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I see foreshadowing, I often like to use that moment to predict. Authors give you clues about what is going to happen by creating a change in the weather or an observation about a character, sometimes something happening that a character does not see. That is usually a great hint about what might happen later.

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Monty's Thoughts

In my summary, I elaborated on each key event in Chapter 4. I went back through the chapter and looked at the pictures to help me to remember the most important parts of the chapter.



Monty's Response

Buck convinces Francois and Perrault to give him the position of lead dog. With Buck's skilled leadership, they travel quickly to Skaguay. There a new master buys the team to pull sleds of mail. Buck begins to think about his connection to his wild ancestors. Dave is allowed to continue with the sled team even though he becomes very sick. Finally, Dave's life must come to an end.

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Hali's Thoughts

I imagined I was writing a short movie review to create my summary. I 'stepped back' and visualized a movie of this chapter, and it helped me see what things were really the most important.

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Pedro's Self Check

To check your summary, ask yourself if your summary—

Captures the main ideas and key information.

Has the right amount of detail (not too much, not too little).

Combines several ideas or facts into one statement.

Paraphrases, or explains in your own words.

Includes information from text and images.

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Monty's Thoughts

In my summary, I elaborated on each key event in Chapter 4. I went back through the chapter and looked at the pictures to help me to remember the most important parts of the chapter.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

I imagined I was writing a short movie review to create my summary.

Close Window


Pedro's Self Check

To check your summary, ask yourself if your summary—

Captures the main ideas and key information.

Has the right amount of detail (not too much, not too little).

Combines several ideas or facts into one statement.

Paraphrases, or explains in your own words.

Includes information from text and images.

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

When I approach the end of a chapter, I like to summarize. This helps me review what I know so far about the story and what questions I might have to discuss with a friend or teacher.

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Hali's Thoughts

One of my favorite reading strategies is visualizing. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine the story, other times I like to draw what I am seeing. Once I took photographs and made a short movie with them. It really made the story come alive.