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White Fang

Jack London

Part Two, Chapters 1-2

Part One, Chapter 3

Part Two, Chapters 3-5

Summary

The she-wolf was the first to hear the other men coming and the first to make a retreat. She runs out over the snow, flanked on either side by two wolves. On her right side there is a gaunt, older wolf, with only one eye. On the left is one of the leaders of the pack. Both of them crowd her, and she fights them off with sharp slashes of teeth and growls. At times, a young three-year-old wolf also darts up, edging between her and the leader. If there hadn't been the famine, all the wolves would have broken up, turning to fighting and then to love-making. But with the lack of food, the wolves run together, searching.

They come along a big bull moose, and take him down, feasting upon the eight hundred pounds of flesh. The famine is over. The wolf pack splits up and the she-wolf, with the young leader on her left, the older wolf on her right, leads half of the pack down to the Mackenzie River. Bit by bit the pack splits apart until it is just the three wolves and the three-year-old wolf.

The three males fight with each other. The two older wolves kill the younger one, and, that finished, the older wolf kills the younger leader. Then the she-wolf and the one-eyed wolf run together. The she-wolf seems to be searching for something; she looks longingly at the human settlement and runs and runs, searching. After two days of lurking about the Indian camp and robbing rabbit snares, someone shoots a gun at them and they retreat.

The she-wolf finds what she is looking for--a lair in the forest. She creeps in, and there she has a litter of pups. One Eye goes in search of food and brings home a porcupine that a lynx had half killed.

Commentary

This is the first dog-only section of White Fang. Other than the shot from a rifle after the wolves rob the rabbit snares, there is no human action in these two chapters. Instead, they focus on One Eye and Kiche. London does not do what many animal writers do--personify the creature so much so that it has a human's stream-of- consciousness. No, he instead uses instinct to explain motivation, instinct and raw reasoning. London sometimes shows instinct without actually explaining it, for instance when Kiche is searching for the lair in chapter 2. The reader does not know that she is searching for the lair, and like Kiche's consciousness, the text is driven by unknown forces. Thus, London uses instinct to draw the experiences of the dogs and the reader closer together. We can identify with Kiche because we do not know what she is searching for, or can identify with that feeling of instinct.

The battles in this section are also important to the theme of White Fang. The three-wolf battle is filled with savagery--against their own kind! There is never any pretense of a "fair-fight" or of "honor." Instead, these are battles to win, just as the battle against the moose is a battle simply for food. Similarly, One-Eye waits for the lynx to kill the porcupine: it doesn't matter how one produces food, as long as it is produced. Battles are thus simply the way to survive in the wild, and London is careful to not tame the battles down, or moralize. The only instance of moralizing is when London says that One Eye did not have an "unholy desire" to eat his pups. It is moral to follow the instinctual laws of nature, those that help keep you and your offspring. That is the only law in the Wild, a law of simple survival.

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White Fang

by hannahc143, August 22, 2012

i agree....

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6 out of 15 people found this helpful

mkay

by mrtaj37, April 15, 2013

mkay jack london mkay

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2 out of 3 people found this helpful

White fang

by ckroon, October 22, 2013

tis one big dog

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