At times, Buck gives in to orders to save himself beatings or other misfortune. Yet at other times he steps up and fights, such as when he wants to take the place of Spitz as lead dog. How does Buck balance submission with dominance, and is there an overall trend towards one from the other as the novella progresses?
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London walks a fine line between anthropomorphizing Buck yet keeping him realistic. London uses human characters to elicit certain responses from Buck. The trend, however, is to ultimately develop Buck as an independent character free of human influence.