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White Fang

Jack London

Part Three, Chapters 1-3

Part Two, Chapters 3-5

Part Three, Chapters 4-6

Summary

In his wanderings, the cub carelessly comes upon the Indian village, and sees men before him. His heart swells as he realizes the power that these men hold, and he stands before them in respect, even while he is afraid. When one of the Indians reaches down for him, he bares his teeth and they laugh at his white fangs, which become his name. When a man reaches down toward him, he bites him on the hand. White Fang is walloped and he ki-yi's until his mother runs to find him.

When his mother bounds into the company of the men, she grovels on the ground, and they recognize her as Kiche, the offspring of a wolf and a dog who left the tribe during the time of famine. Gray Beaver, one of the men, was her owner, so he ties her up again and pets her and White Fang. White Fang is afraid at first, but soon he enjoys the feeling. The other dogs attack him but are driven off by the men, and he realizes that men are the makers and keepers of laws and justice.

The group goes back to the village, and White Fang meets his first enemy, Lip-lip. Lip-lip is a little older than White Fang, a feisty puppy, and attacks him. Then, after his pride is hurt by Lip-lip, White Fang tries to taste fire and his pride is further hurt when he burns both his tongue and nose.

White Fang and his mother stay with the village, for even when White Fang tries to escape his mother will not follow. Lip-lip terrorizes his days, and White Fang never learns to play with the other dogs--he instead becomes crafty and slinks around the camp. His mother is sold to Three Eagles, and White Fang tries to follow the canoe, but Gray Beaver comes after and beats him until he cannot follow. White Fang cries for his mother, but bit by bit, he grows attached to the cold justice of Gray Beaver.

Lip-lip's torments worsen. All the dogs attack White Fang, and he can only escape by running into the woods or snarling and ripping out the throats of the other dogs. All of the camp, besides Gray Beaver, turns against him, and he lives as an outcast, hated by both dogs and mankind.

Commentary

In this section, London demonstrates the ways that environment affect development. White Fang is not a cruel dog; he is made cruel by his environment. London writes that White Fang had a certain genetic code that could be molded one way or another. It was molded in such a way that made him into a fighter rather than a hunter, a tyrant rather than a leader. White Fang at this part of the book shows a similarity to the criminal at the end of the book--both are turned bad by their situation. White Fang is not intentionally malicious at all--it is mostly all environment that makes him so. This section (and the entire book) seems to make a statement beyond simply "watch how you treat your dogs because they might turn out savage"; instead it makes a statement about people's surroundings. London grew up poor and saw many of the people he knew turn to illegal methods of staying alive. Just as White Fang was driven to cruelty for survival, London is making a statement that can also hold true to people.

The dog's-eye view of people is also important in this section. London writes that dogs see humans as gods, animating dead things. This respect of power is basic to the law of survival in the wild that White Fang learned in the last section. In order to survive, one must decide what beings are bigger than one's self and therefore command respect. The power of humans to create a sense of order with their power also gives the dogs an idea of right and wrong and of justice. What is actually happening is that White Fang, a wolf, is becoming a dog. A wolf lives by the law of nature where there is no right and wrong: no one will punish another dog that picks on you. However, in the camp, there is a sense of justice that the humans create, which White Fang comes to rely on, making him a dog.

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White Fang

by hannahc143, August 22, 2012

i agree....

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4 out of 13 people found this helpful

mkay

by mrtaj37, April 15, 2013

mkay jack london mkay

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1 out of 2 people found this helpful

White fang

by ckroon, October 22, 2013

tis one big dog

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