On the other hand, possibly because he divined in Buck a dangerous rival, Spitz never lost

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

On the other hand, possibly because he divined in Buck a dangerous rival, Spitz never lost an opportunity of showing his teeth. He even went out of his way to bully Buck, striving constantly to start the fight which could end only in the death of one or the other. 

(i) Who was Spitz? Why did he consider Buck ‘a dangerous rival’?

(ii) How did the ‘dominant primordial beast’ which grew in Buck shape his behaviour in his new environment?

(iii) Earlier in the trip, Buck and Spitz were engaged in a violent fight.
      What led to the fight? Why did it end abruptly?

(iv) Later in the story, Buck intervened when Spitz was about to punish Pike. Why did he do this? How did Francois reward Buck for this?

(v) In what ways are Buck and Spitz similar?

     How are they different from each other?


(i) Alpha dog – leader of the pack of huskies

    Any 2 of the following:

• Buck was bigger and stronger than Spitz
• Buck was competitive / ambitious and wanted to lead the pack
• Spitz recognised that Buck was more than his equal

(ii) • It grew secretly – new-born cunning gave him poise and control
     • Avoided fights – did not pick any/ refused to be provoked
     • Became more deliberate/ did not act in haste/ rashly
     • Very careful not to betray impatience when Spitz was around, avoided all offensive action

(iii) • The team had camped for the night at Lake le Barge and Buck had dug out a nest for himself for the night. When he returned from dinner he found it occupied by Spitz.
     • Reacting in rage and pent-up frustration, Buck attacked Spitz who was ready for the attack/ equally ready to fight
     • The fight was interrupted and had to be abandoned because the camp was invaded by a pack of desperate, starving huskies – they ate the store of food and then                 attacked the team of dogs.

(iv) • Because Buck wished to openly challenge Spitz’s leadership
      • Buck wanted to undermine Spitz’s authority and to make the other dogs see him as leader
      • Francoise was unfair – lashed at Buck with his whip for challenging Spitz’s role

(v) Similarities: (Accept any other plausible response)
    • Both dogs were strong/ fit/ alpha males
    • Highly competitive/ proud

   • Buck is imaginative/loyal/ a survivor – quick thinking/ Fights savagely but only when provoked
   • Spitz is devious/ treacherous/ cruel and pugilistic (meaning he’ll readily start a fight)