White Fang is a bitter, vicious dog and is made worse when Mit-sah puts him at the front of the pack. But White Fang does not stay close to Mit-sah when they camp, so all the dogs attack him, and he returns their attacks. He becomes so vicious that Gray Beaver swears that there has never been a dog so vicious as White Fang.
When White Fang is almost five, Gray Beaver takes him on a trip to the Yukon, and he attacks dogs all along the way. He never wastes his strength, judges time and distance well, and is an excellent fighter. That summer, they arrive at Fort Yukon. It is the summer of 1898, at the height of the gold rush. Gray Beaver has brought furs and mittens and moccasins and makes a thousand percent profit off his goods. He settles there for the winter to trade. White Fang sees his first white men and feels that they are far superior to the Indians, with larger houses and greater powers. Yet their dogs are not very strong, and White Fang fights and kills them.
One man lives in Fort Yukon who was called Beauty Smith. He is as far from possessing good looks as any can be--nature was niggardly with his looks. Worse, Beauty is a cruel, evil beast of a man, which White Fang senses. Beauty wants to buy White Fang, but Gray Beaver refuses to sell. So Beauty brings Gray Beaver whiskey and gives it to him until all of his money is drunk away. Then Gray Beaver, entirely broke, sells White Fang to Beauty Smith. White Fang escapes and goes back to Gray Beaver, but Gray Beaver returns him to Beauty Smith, and White Fang is beaten. Finally, after several escapes and beatings, White Fang is secured with a chain, and Gray Beaver leaves the town.
White Fang becomes a professional fighting dog. Men make bets on him and he takes his hatred of Beauty out on the dogs and becomes known as "The Fighting Wolf." Even a lynx is pushed into his cage, but White Fang kills her; there are no fiercer animals to fight until the first bulldog in the Klondike and White Fang are brought together.
Beauty Smith is an example of the equation of ugliness with spiritual meanness that is often present in stories, especially simple tales like White Fang. He is an excellent comparison with Gray Beaver and with Weedon Scott. Beauty rules by hatred. He bought White Fang because he saw the hatred and fierceness that was already instilled in the dog. However, he uses hate to further White Fang's development. Gray Beaver is in the middle, ruling White Fang with mutual respect without love, but without hatred. Weedon Scott, as we will see in the next section, rules White Fang with love. When Beauty Smith is White Fang's master, this sort of hatred turns itself in on White Fang--his hatred for Beauty comes out in his fighting of their dogs.
This section also illuminates the very real problem of alcohol, especially when introduced to the indigenous people. Trade happened just as Beauty Smith wanted it to--the bottle in exchange for whatever one wants. Some northern cities in Alaska (which even today has some of the highest alcoholism rates in the United States) have gone "dry" because of these problems. Gray Beaver might not be kind, but at least he is honorable; London shows how alcohol can change that.
4 out of 12 people found this helpful
mkay jack london mkay
1 out of 2 people found this helpful