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White Fang

Jack London

Part Three, Chapters 4-6

Part Three, Chapters 1-3

Part Four, Chapters 1-3

Summary

In the fall, the village packs up to go off for fall hunting. White Fang decides to stay behind and, quite deliberately, hides in the forest. That night he is cold, lonely, and afraid. In the morning, he goes and looks at the abandoned village and howls mournfully. He runs alongside the river, looking for his people. The second day, White Fang finds his people camped along the river, and White Fang surrenders himself to Gray Beaver. He is now, by his own choice, a dog.

In December, Gray Beaver travels up the Mackenzie by sled. Mit-sah and Kloo-kooch go with him, and White Fang is fastened to Mit-sah's sled. The dogs are tied in fan formation, with each a whole body's length ahead of the next, but so that all of the dogs pursue the one in the front. Mit-sah puts Lip-lip at the front of the rope, so all the dogs pursue him and grow to hate him. Then Mit-sah favors Lip-lip the most of the dogs, in order to make all the dogs hate him. But even with their shared hatred of Lip-lip, White Fang and the other dogs still do not get along. White Fang could have become the leader, but he is too solitary, a tyrant rather than a leader.

White Fang, while he knows that Gray Beaver is his master, has little affection for him. White Fang attacks a boy who attacks him for no reason, yet Gray Beaver is not angry. Then he attacks boys who are attacking Mit-sah, and he still is not angry. White Fang thus learns to defend property against other humans.

In the spring, the three people and the dogs return to the village. White Fang is a year old now and already has reached the height of other dogs, although he hasn't compacted yet. He meets the dogs of the village with new confidence, and they respect him.

In the summer, White Fang meets up with his mother again, but she has a new litter of puppies and drives him away with growls and bites. White Fang is confused, but leaves.

As the days go on, White Fang is molded into a rather wolfish dog. He is full of strength with his one weakness being that he cannot stand hearing people laugh at him. In the third year of his life, another famine comes upon the people, and White Fang leaves to live in the woods. He meets his mother, then meets Lip-lip and kills him. After some time, he returns to the village and the famine is over.

Commentary

In this section, White Fang becomes a dog. His choice to go back to the camp firmly marks him as a dog and not a wolf. His admiration for the justice and power of men, as well as the domesticated side of his genetic line, have won out. But at the same time, he becomes more and more tyrannical, bossing the other dogs, killing when he has the chance, and becoming a fighting dog. Yet White Fang simply respects Gray Beaver; there is no love there. When London explains how laughter makes White Fang grow wild, he tells us that White Fang does not attack Gray Beaver because he knows that there is a club there. Behind the other dogs, there is nothing but empty space. Thus, White Fang's actions are controlled by these perceptions of physical things, rather than a sense of love. In the same line, when White Fang decides to stay behind, it is only when he goes to the village and realizes that it is physically not there, that he misses Gray Beaver. His attachment to the humans comes from simple physical familiarity--not from emotional commitment.

London revisits the question of environment vs. genetics in this section. He writes that White Fang has been turned into a rather wolfish dog, but that had life worked somewhat differently, he would instead be a somewhat doggish wolf. London is interested in how all the forces of life influence animals and people. When we hear of Mit-sah, there is an implied statement--Gray Beaver is fierce and cold and gives that to his animals, and Mit-sah has learned from his father, so treats the animals the same way. Both White Fang and Mit-sah are under the developmental influence of Gray Beaver and the village society.

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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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