Le Jour du chien

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Caroline Lamarche

Perrault is an interesting character, and his role in the novel is as much about timing as it is about his own personal attributes. He is a transitional character. While not unnecessarily cruel, Perrault is an unsentimental man. He knows what the dogs must be able to do in order to be successful sled dogs, and he is prepared to do whatever he needs to do in order to elicit this behavior from the dogs. He also understands that to get the best performance out of the dogs, he needs to feed and care for them adequately. However, he is not sentimental about the dogs. He treats them decently, but he does not anthropomorphize them. This is interesting, given how human the narrator reveals Buck’s emotions to be. Perrault’s failure to understand Buck helps explain why he does not elicit the same loyalty and devotion from his dogs that Thornton elicits. It also explains how he could have a dog like Spitz leading his other dogs.

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