In “The Call of the Wild” why was Hal beating Buck?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "The Call of the Wild," Hal was beating Buck because he was frustrated that the sled dogs were exhausted and not moving fast enough. Hal was a greedy and inexperienced gold hunter who purchased Buck and other dogs to help him navigate the treacherous Yukon territory. Hal and his team overworked and underfed the dogs, which led to their exhaustion. When Buck and the other dogs refused to go any further, Hal became angry and started beating them. However, Buck refused to move, and his defiance led to a showdown between Hal and John Thornton, who eventually saved Buck from further abuse.
Detailed answer:

In "The Call of the Wild," Hal's beating of Buck is a significant scene that showcases the cruelty and brutality of the men during the Klondike Gold Rush. The event takes place during a crucial point in the story when Hal, Charles, and Mercedes, three inexperienced travelers, embark on a perilous journey through the Yukon with Buck and a team of sled dogs.

Hal's beating of Buck is prompted by his frustration at the sled dogs' inability to pull the sled, despite being overworked and malnourished. In a fit of rage, Hal attacks Buck with a club, relentlessly beating him until John Thornton intervenes. This incident is symbolic of the way humans have historically exploited animals for their own gain, often with little regard for their well-being or dignity. It also highlights the viciousness and greed of the men who have come to the Yukon in search of fortune and are willing to abuse animals to achieve their goals.

The scene also serves to highlight the stark contrast between Hal and John Thornton, two characters with very different approaches to their dogs. While Hal views his dogs as tools to be used and abused, John Thornton values the loyalty and companionship of his dog and treats him with kindness and respect. Thornton represents a more humane and compassionate approach to dog ownership that emphasizes mutual trust and respect.

Overall, the scene of Hal's beating of Buck is a powerful moment in "The Call of the Wild" that reflects larger societal issues related to animal welfare, human greed, and the struggle for survival in harsh environments.

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