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Jack London was born John Griffith Chaney in San Francisco, California on January 12, 1876. Although he was raised as the son of Flora London, a spiritualist, and John London, a Civil War veteran, he was actually the illegitimate son of Flora and William Chaney, an astrologer and journalist who deserted her soon after Jack's birth. Jack did not learn about the true events surrounding his birth until he was in his twenties.
Raised in Oakland, California, Jack did not stay in school long as a child. In his twenties he returned to high school in order to complete his education. During his life, Jack London had a large number of professions, which greatly enhanced his writing. He was a sailor, a factory worker, an oyster pirate, a member of the California Fish Patrol, a railroad hobo, and a gold prospector in Alaska. He was also a wartime journalist, and covered both the Russo-Japanese War and the Mexican Revolution. It was during his travels in these various professions that he was exposed to socialism, of which he became a staunch supporter. He was an impassioned street corner speaker, and ran once unsuccessfully for mayor of Oakland on the socialist ticket.
London was married twice, first in 1900 to his math tutor, Bess Maddern. They had two daughters together, Joan and Bess, but the marriage quickly strained and the pair divorced in 1903. He then married his secretary, Charmian Kittredge, soon after the separation. He considered her the love of his life, and they traveled and wrote together. London died on November 22, 1916, at the age of 40, as a result of health problems that culminated in kidney failure.
Jack London was a powerful influence on American literature of the twentieth century. One of the most important of his ideas was "survival of the fittest," a version of the theories of Charles Darwin that emphasized competition in nature for the betterment of the species. Many American authors adopted his brutal approach. The idea not only appeared in literature as London first envisioned it, but evolved into such diverse concepts as social Darwinism and some aspects of psychology. As a result, London's work has had a wide-ranging impact.
London also pioneered the use of environment in literature to explain character, trying to show how character was formed in a nearly pre-Freudian era. The combination of this and his brutally honest telling of living in nature became a trademark of his writing. His realistic portrayal of life influenced writers from Stephen Crane to F. Scott Fitzgerald. His writings allowed other authors to be less afraid of portraying the brutality and cruelty of life, as well as freeing up such diverse settings and characters as the Yukon and wild animals. His approach to writing was unique, especially for the time period during which he worked.
"London, Jack." Encyclopaedia Brittanica. 1999.
Lundquist, James. Jack London, adventures, ideas, and fiction. Ungar: New York, 1987.
The novel opens as two men, Bill and Henry, carry the dead body of Lord Albert south to be buried. Over the course of the journey, their dog sled is pursued by a hungry pack of wolves. The sled dogs are picked off one by one as they try to join the pack. The dogs are lured by the she-wolf running with the pack, who is part dog herself and knows how to communicate with them. Soon, Bill is eaten by the pack. Just as Henry is about to be eaten by the wolves, he is rescued by soldiers who are looking for Lord Albert.
The wolf pack runs away and travels together. The she-wolf is courted by several other members of the pack. A wolf named One Eye finally succeeds, and they go off to hunt together. The she-wolf becomes pregnant, and they find a cave where she bears her young. There is a famine, and all of her litter die of starvation except for one cub, a little gray wolf. One Eye does not return from his hunting.
One day the cub and she-wolf encounter Indians. One of them calls to the she-wolf by a strange name: Kiche. They name the cub White Fang. Kiche and White Fang become the dogs of one Indian named Gray Beaver. When they reach the Indian camp, White Fang is tormented by an older puppy named Lip-lip. White Fang learns that Gray Beaver is his master, and that he can never bite Gray Beaver. He is abused by all the dogs in the Indian camp, and becomes vicious and ferocious.
White Fang is put on the sled team of Gray Beaver's son, Mit-sah. After they return to the camp, famine strikes again, and White Fang goes into the Wild to live. When the famine passes, he returns to Gray Beaver and travels with him to Fort Yukon, where Gray Beaver becomes addicted to whiskey. He sells White Fang to Beauty Smith, who keeps him caged and forces him to fight other dogs. He becomes a killer. He wins every fight until he comes up against Cherokee, a mastiff. Cherokee's jaws clamp down on his throat and he can't escape. Weedon Scott, a stranger visiting the area, rescues him.
Weedon Scott and his friend Matt realize how intelligent White Fang is and try to tame him, but are unsuccessful at first. Scott shows White Fang that he will not be cruel. White Fang begins to love Scott, and when Scott has to go back to his home in California, White Fang forces Scott to take him along.
White Fang is out of place in California, and is not entirely trusted by the Scott family. One of Scott's dogs, Collie, particularly distrusts him. However, White Fang dramatically proves himself. First, White Fang saves Scott by getting help when Scott falls off his horse and breaks his leg. Then, he earns the title "Blessed Wolf" by killing an escaped convict who was intent on murdering Weedon Scott's father.
Bill: One of the two men guiding the sled at the opening of the novel, Bill is shown to be very resourceful. He ties the dogs up every night as they are pursued by the pack of wolves, and manages to find new ways to keep the dogs from escaping. However, he also acts rashly, especially when he confronts the wolf pack with only three cartridges in his rifle.
Henry: One of the two men guiding the sled at the opening of the novel, Henry is a good companion to his friend Bill. Henry has an enormous amount of endurance. He manages to hold off the wolf pack for a long time by using fire to his advantage, and holding on to every bit of energy he has.
One Eye: White Fang's father, he is a seasoned veteran of the wolf pack. He manages to outsmart two other wolves for the she-wolf's attentions. He accompanies her on a long journey and courtship. He eventually becomes a father, and tries to provide for his children when there is no food.
She-wolf/Kiche: White Fang's mother, she is part wolf, part dog. She was raised in the Indian camp by Gray Beaver, and it was this upbringing which enabled her to outsmart Henry and Bill so often. She takes many risks raising of White Fang, especially when there is no food. She goes back to Gray Beaver, however, and brings White Fang with her.
Young wolf cub/White Fang: White Fang is the only remaining son of One Eye and Kiche, and is shaped by the many aspects of his upbringing. As an inquisitive youngster, White Fang discovers the world around him with the help of his mother. He grows hard under Lip-lip's mean treatment and cruel under Beauty Smith's abusive imprisonment. He is a menace until his final master, Weedon Scott, teaches him love.
Gray Beaver: Gray Beaver is a just master to White Fang, and always treats him fairly. There is no affection between White Fang and Gray Beaver, but there is a strong loyalty. Gray Beaver teaches White Fang with the club when needed, and encourages him with meat. However, he gives in to a whiskey addiction, and is forced to sell White Fang to Beauty Smith.
Lip-lip: A larger, older dog than White Fang, he tortures him during his time at the Indian Camp under Gray Beaver. He is mean and cruel, and forces White Fang to become a loner. He encourages the other dogs to attack White Fang in groups, and as a result White Fang becomes dangerous to the other Indian dogs.
Mit-sah: Son of Gray Beaver, he inherits his father's love of justice. White Fang pulls Mit-sah's sled as a young wolf, and Mit-sah quickly makes Lip-lip the enemy of the pack by placing him at the head of the sled. This takes away some of the danger for White Fang, although Lip-lip continues to rule the other dogs.
Beauty Smith: An evil man who is looked down upon by his fellow men, he treats White Fang cruelly. Taking White Fang from Gray Beaver as payment for whiskey, he makes a business out of dog fighting. He keeps White Fang imprisoned and tortured, just to keep him fierce for fighting. He treats both dogs and men horribly.
Newcomer/Weedon Scott: Weedon Scott saves White Fang from death in a fight, and introduces him to a whole new world. Scott is a kind, loving master. White Fang has never experienced this before. Scott's family is a testament to his goodness, and White Fang is soon integrated into that family.
Matt: Matt is Weedon Scott's business partner and traveling companion. He feeds White Fang and takes care of him judiciously, but never develops the relationship that Scott has with White Fang. He witnesses White Fang's sorrow when White Fang is away from Weedon Scott.
Collie: A sheep dog owned by the Scott family, she makes life miserable for White Fang when he comes to live with the family. At their first meeting, she manages to knock him off his feet, and from that day on torments him. Very slowly, though, a friendship and more grows between them.
Man in coffin/Lord Albert: Lord Albert is the dead man Bill and Henry are carrying south for burial. His family must be very rich in order to afford to have the body transported.
Fatty: Fatty is the first sled dog to run away to the wolves. Bill and Henry both think very little of him, considering him a fool.
Frog: Frog is the second sled dog to run away to the wolves. Bill and Henry know he is very smart, and don't understand why he runs away.
Spanker: Spanker is the third sled dog to run away to the wolves. One Ear chews through Spanker's leather ties so he can escape.
Young leader: The young leader competes with One Eye for Kiche's attention, and One Eye kills him for it.
Young three-year-old wolf: The energetic young wolf killed by One Eye and the young leader because he wants to mate with Kiche.
Lynx: A very dangerous animal. Kiche and White Fang are nearly killed when they have to fight with it in their cave. The lynx attacks Kiche because she stole the lynx's kittens.
Brothers and Sisters: White Fang's brothers and sisters do not last very long in the wild, and die for lack of food.
Three Eagles: Gray Beaver sells White Fang's mother, Kiche, to Three Eagles in order to pay off a debt.
Kloo-kooch: Kloo-kooch is Gray Beaver's wife, and is often kind to White Fang, even though other tribe members dislike him.
Boy (chopping moose meat): White Fang bites the boy after he is cornered with a club. The boy is angry because White Fang ate some of the wasted meat, but White Fang knows that he should be allowed to eat it.
Baseek: An older dog in the Indian camp, he attempts to steal White Fang's meat. However, White Fang has grown, and fights for his meal.
Tim Keenan: The owner of Cherokee the bulldog, he is concerned only with making money in the dogfights. He worries about the health of his own dog, but doesn't care about anyone else.
Cherokee: A large bulldog, he is the only dog who is able to take down White Fang. He clamps down on White Fang's throat, and simply holds on. Only Weedon Scott's intervention saves White Fang's life.
Major: A dog on Scott's sled team, he tries to steal meat from White Fang. This is not smart, and he is quickly killed.
Scott's Mother: Scott's mother is nearly attacked by White Fang when she goes to hug her son. She never really trusts White Fang, and worries about him going mad. It is not until White Fang captures Jim Hall that she begins to trust him.
Dick: A deerhound that lives with the Scott family, Dick attacks White Fang on his first visit. However, he later tries to be friends with White Fang. White Fang will not allow this.
Judge Scott: Weedon Scott's father, Judge Scott, often does not trust White Fang. He thinks White Fang cannot be trained, although is proven wrong as Scott shows White Fang not to attack chickens. It is not until White Fang captures Jim Hall that the Judge trusts him.
Beth: Weedon Scott's sister, Beth, trusts White Fang and realizes that something is wrong when Weedon is hurt. She knows that White Fang is trying to tell them something.
Mary: Weedon Scott's sister.
Alice: Weedon Scott's wife.
Weedon Jr.: Weedon Scott's son.
Maude: Weedon Scott's daughter.
Jim Hall: An escaped convict, Jim Hall was not guilty of the crime he had been put in prison for. Judge Scott convicted him, not realizing there was a police cover up. Jim Hall wants revenge on Judge Scott, thinking he was part of the conspiracy. He breaks into the family home in order to get revenge.
One Ear: One of Bill and Henry's sled dogs, One Ear is surrounded by the pack of wolves when the sled tips over. Bill runs after him with the rifle, but neither of them survives.
Northlands: The title given to the lands north of the continental United States, including parts of Canada and Alaska.
Coffin: Henry and Bill carry the deceased Lord Albert in the wooden coffin on their way to Fort McGurry.
Pack of Wolves: Henry and Bill are pursued by the pack on their journey. The pack is led in part by the she-wolf, Kiche.
Fort McGurry: This fort is the destination of Henry and Bill on their journey south. They are bringing Lord Albert there so that he can be given a proper funeral.
Mackenzie River: When the wolf pack splits, Kiche leads her half down to this river. The river's bank is also the location of Gray Beaver's Indian tribe.
Indian Camp: Kiche and the wolves come upon the camp of the Indians, but leave quickly. Eventually, Kiche and White Fang go there to live.
Rabbit: One of the animals that Kiche and One Eye eat on their journey.
Cave: Kiche and One Eye dwell in the cave when she gives birth to her cubs.
Porcupine: Careful of the porcupine's quills, One Eye skillfully retrieves the meat of the porcupine when a lynx attacks it.
Ptarmigan: A small bird that One Eye captures to give to Kiche for food.
Mouth of the Cave: This is the only source of light in the cave, and White Fang knows that One Eye enters and leaves through it. However, he thinks it is solid like the rest of the cave.
Squirrel: One of the animals that White Fang meets when he first leaves the cave.
Woodpecker: One of the animals that White Fang meets when he first leaves the cave.
Moose-bird: A small bird that pecks White Fang when he first leaves the cave.
Nest of Ptarmigans: A nest of baby birds that White Fang falls into on his first day out of the cave. He attempts to eat one of the baby birds.
Mother-Ptarmigan: The mother of the nest of baby birds that White Fang falls into on his first day out of the cave. She attacks White Fang, and he runs away to hide in a bush.
Hawk: This predator bird attacks White Fang the day he leaves the cave for the first time. When it misses White Fang, it takes away the mother ptarmigan.
Young Weasel: White Fang finds this baby predator animal his first day out of the cave, and attacks it.
Mother-Weasel: This fierce predator attacks White Fang when he attacks her young.
Lynx Kitten: When she is desperate for food, Kiche brings this young predator cat for White Fang to eat. She steals it from its mother's cave.
Indians: Gray Beaver is a member of this group, and brings Kiche and White Fang to live with them.
Teepees: The tents which the Indians live in. The dogs are not allowed inside.
Great Slave Lake: A large body of water that White Fang and Grey Beaver pass on the way to the Yukon.
Whip: A large leather rope used to drive the dogs as well as punish them. It is used with both good and evil intent.
Yukon: An area in the Northlands.
Hudson's Bay Company: The trade company located in Fort Yukon.
Sour-doughs: Men living in Fort Yukon. They make their bread with sourdough because they have no baking powder.
Mastiff: A large dog with powerful jaws. Cherokee is a mastiff.
San Francisco: A city in California near to where Weedon Scott lives. The things he sees there amaze White Fang.
Sierra Vista: The Scott estate, where White Fang meets Collie and Dick.
San Jose: The town closest to Sierra Vista. White Fang sometimes goes there with Weedon Scott.
Club: A piece of wood always used as an instrument of punishment for dogs.
Quote 1: "On the sled, in the box, lay a third man whose toil was over, - a man whom the Wild had conquered and beaten down until he would never move nor struggle again. It is not the way of the Wild to like movement. Life is an offense to it, for life is movement; and the Wild aims always to destroy movement." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 4
Quote 2: "I reckon you've called the turn, Bill. That wolf's a dog, an' it's eaten fish many's the time from the hand of man." Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 13
Quote 3: "As he piled wood on the fire he discovered an appreciation of his own body which he had never felt before...It fascinated him, and he grew suddenly fond of this subtle flesh of his that worked so beautifully and smoothly and delicately. Then he would cast a glance of fear at the wolf-circle drawn expectantly about him, and like a blow the realization would strike him that this wonderful body of his, this living flesh, was no more than so much meat, a quest of ravenous animals, to be torn and slashed by their hungry fangs, to be sustenance to them as the moose and the rabbit had often been sustenance to him." Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 23
Quote 4: "She was made glad in vague ways by the battle, for this was the love-making of the Wild, the sex-tragedy of the natural world that was tragedy only to those that died. To those that survived it was not tragedy, but realization and achievement." Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 33
Quote 5: "She was thrilling to a desire that urged her to go forward, to be in closer to that fire, to be squabbling with the dogs, and to be avoiding and dodging the stumbling feet of men." Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 35
Quote 6: "Of her own experience she had no memory of the thing happening; but in her instinct, which was the experience of all mothers of wolves, there lurked a memory of fathers that had eaten their new-born and helpless progeny." Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 40
Quote 7: "He was always striving to attain it. The life that was so swiftly expanding within him, urged him continually toward the wall of light. The life that was within him knew that it was the one way out, the way he was predestined to tread." Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 48
Quote 8: "But the Wild is the Wild, and motherhood is motherhood, at all times fiercely protective whether in the Wild or out of it; and the time was to come when the she-wolf, for her gray cub's sake, would venture the left fork, and the lair in the rocks, and the lynx's wrath." Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 50
Quote 9: "Thus it was that in obedience to the law laid down by his mother, and in obedience to the law of that unknown and nameless thing, fear, he kept away from the mouth of the cave." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 51
Quote 10: "But there were other forces at work in the cub, the greatest of which was growth. Instinct and law demanded of him obedience. But growth demanded disobedience...In the end, one day, fear and obedience were swept away by the rush of life, and the cub straddled and sprawled toward the entrance." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 52
Quote 11: "His conclusion was that things were not always what they appeared to be. The cub's fear of the unknown was an inherited distrust, and it had now been strengthened by experience. Thenceforth, in the nature of things, he would possess an abiding distrust of appearances." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 58-59
Quote 12: "The aim of life was meat. Life itself was meat. Life lived on life. There were the eaters and the eaten. The law was: EAT OR BE EATEN. He did not formulate the law in clear, set terms and moralize about it. He did not even think the law; he merely lived the law without thinking about it at all." Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 65
Quote 13: "In dim ways he recognized in man the animal that had fought itself to primacy over the other animals of the Wild. Not alone out of his own eyes, but out of the eyes of all his ancestors was the cub now looking upon man." Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 67
Quote 14: "It was the worst hurt he had ever known." Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 76
Quote 15: "They were firemakers! They were gods!" Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 76
Quote 16: "But it did not all happen in a day, this giving over of himself, body and soul, to the man-animals. He could not immediately forego his wild heritage and his memories of the Wild. There were days when he crept to the edge of the forest and stood and listened to something calling him far and away." Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 78
Quote 17: "It was during this period that he might have hearkened to the memories of the lair and the stream and run back to the Wild. But the memory of his mother held him...So he remained in his bondage waiting for her." Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 83
Quote 18: "Out of this pack-persecution he learned two important things: how to take care of himself in a mass-fight against him; and how, on a single dog, to inflict the greatest amount of damage in the briefest space of time." Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 85
Quote 19: "He became quicker of movement than the other dogs, swifter of foot, craftier, deadlier, more lithe, more lean with ironlike muscle and sinew, more enduring, more cruel more ferocious, and more intelligent. He had to become all these things, else he would not have held his own nor survived the hostile environment in which he found himself." Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 89
Quote 20: "His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him. He had forgotten how to shift for himself. The night yawned about him." Part 3, Chapter 4, pg. 91
Quote 21: "White Fang knew the law well: to oppress the weak and obey the strong." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 98
Quote 22: "White Fang was glad to acknowledge his lordship, but it was lordship based upon superior intelligence and brute strength...There were deeps in his nature which had never been sounded. A kind word, a caressing touch of the hand, on the part of Gray Beaver, might have sounded these deeps; but Gray Beaver did not caress nor speak kind words. It was not his way." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 99
Quote 23: "Food and fire, protection and companionship, were some of the things he received from the god. In return, he guarded the god's property, defended his body, worked for him, and obeyed him." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 102
Quote 24: "This was a female of his kind, and it was a law of his kind that the males must not fight the females. He did not know anything about this law, for it was no generalization of the mind, not a something acquired by experience in the world. He knew it as a secret prompting, as an urge of instinct - of the same instinct that made him howl at the moon and starts of nights and that made him fear death and the unknown." Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 106
Quote 25: "One cannot violate the promptings of one's nature without having that nature recoil upon itself...Every urge of his being impelled him to spring upon the pack that cried at his heels, but it was the will of the gods that this should not be; and behind the will, to enforce it, was the whip of cariboo-gut with its biting thirty-foot lash." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 112
Quote 26: "Much of the Wild had been lost, so that to them the Wild was the unknown, the terrible, the ever menacing and ever warring. But to him, in appearance and action and impulse, still clung the Wild." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 213
Quote 27: "And so, fresh from the soft southern world, these dogs, trotting down the gang-plank and out upon the Yukon shore, had but to see White Fang to experience the irresistible impulse to rush upon him and destroy him. They might be town-reared dogs, but the instinctive fear of the Wild was theirs just the same." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 119
Quote 28: "In short, Beauty Smith was a monstrosity, and the blame of it lay elsewhere. He was not responsible. The clay of him had been moulded in the making." Part 4, Chapter 2, pg. 121
Quote 29: "They were his environment, these men, and they were moulding the clay of him into a more ferocious thing than had been intended by Nature. Nevertheless, Nature had given him plasticity. Where many another animal would have died or had its spirit broken, he adjusted himself and lived, and at no expense of the spirit." Part 4, Chapter 3, pg. 130
Quote 30: "The bulldog's method was to hold what he had, and when opportunity favored to work in for more. Opportunity favored when White Fang remained quiet. When White Fang struggled, Cherokee was content merely to hold on." Part 4, Chapter 4, pg. 137
Quote 31: "He did not want to bite the hand, and he endured the peril of it until his instinct surged up in him, mastering him with its insatiable yearning for life." Part 4, Chapter 5, pg. 144
Quote 32: "The hand descended. Nearer and nearer it came. It touched the ends of his upstanding hair. He shrank down under it. It followed down after him, pressing more closely against him. Shrinking, almost shivering. He still managed to hold himself together. It was a torment, this hand that touched him and violated his instinct. He could not forget in a day all the evil that had been wrought him at the hands of men." Part 4, Chapter 6, pg. 152
Quote 33: "This expression of abandon and surrender, of absolute trust, he reserved for the master alone." Part 5, Chapter 3, pg. 176
Quote 34: "The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept." Part 5, Chapter 4, pg. 183
Quote 35: "He was a ferocious man. He had been ill-made in the making. He had not been born right, and he had not been helped any by the moulding he had received at the hands of society. The hands of society are harsh, and this man was a striking sample of its handiwork. He was a beast." Part 5, Chapter 5, pg. 189
Environment 1: In this passage, Bill and Henry realize that the she-wolf must have some history as a dog, because she knows how men work and how the food gets passed out. They are able to figure out the she-wolf's familiarity with a civilized environment.
Environment 2: This passage foreshadows the she-wolf's later return to the Indian camp. She has a past among the people of the camp, and has at least some desire to return to them. Her instinct to have cubs and raise them in the Wild overcomes her at this point, but it seems the civilized environment will have a fairly strong hold also.
Environment 3: The gray cub's experience with the river shows how environment and instinct can work together. The cub has an instinctual fear of the unknown and distrust of appearances. This seems to be strengthened greatly by his experience with the river. He mistakes the river for solid land, and ends up cold, wet, and hurt as a result. Perhaps these experiences will strengthen the cub's chances for survival in the future.
Environment 4: The cub's experience with the lynx seems to be a defining moment of his youth. This is the only instance in which his mother is badly hurt, and it is the only time in his childhood that he is obviously put into danger. He is in this danger due to lack of food, which indicates a degree of risk needs to be taken when food is scarce.
Environment 5: White Fang's experiences with his mother allow him to place great value on her, and so he fights for her when she is taken away. She has defined his life up to this point; most of his life has been spent with her and no one else.
Environment 6: White Fang is abused horribly by Lip-lip, and he has to learn to survive. He learns the best way to fight and to deal with the dogs in the Indian camp. He is forced into the position of loner and vicious wolf. He can't seem to befriend any other dog, but rather forces them away for his own protection.
Environment 7: Because of his position as a total outcast, White Fang is forced to learn and grow into a fighting machine. He is cruel and effective. The dogs abuse him, and so he learns to fight back to deal with them.
Environment 8: White Fang is left alone in the Wild, and the reader is shown how his environment at the Indian camp has subordinated his instincts and his earlier experiences. He has grown to accept the world of the camp as it is, and a drastic change such as this leaves him totally out of place. Even though he has lived in the Wild before, he is closest to the most recent experiences of his life.
Environment 9: In his work as head of the sled team, White Fang has to fight a war within himself. His instinct is to turn around and defend himself against the dogs that are chasing him. However, Mit-sah is waiting with a whip to injure him if he does this. He knows the effects of the whip and Mit-sah's ability to use it. He wants to avoid the lashing and so continues running.
Environment 10: As the "Fighting Wolf," White Fang is forced to live a caged life in which all contact is to be despised and reviled. He adapts and becomes fantastic at what he does, becoming cruel and vicious far beyond his days in the Indian camp. However, it seems that his spirit is not broken by the experience.
Environment 11: As Scott attempts to tame White Fang by bringing his hand close, White Fang has been doubly prepared to fight against this. His instinct insists that this is dangerous, and that he must retaliate. He has also been severely abused for a long period of time. White Fang reacts by biting Scott's hand to defend himself.
Environment 12: Although White Fang bit Scott the last time he tried this, Scott has been careful this time. White Fang knows that he should not bite, and he knows on some level that Scott will not harm him. This is enough to prevent him from biting again, even though a large part of him wants to retaliate against the offending hand.
Environment 13: This passage demonstrates how well Scott teaches White Fang. He forces White Fang to recognize his mother's hug as a normal part of human interaction. Certainly, this is important to Scott, so that accidental attacks don't occur. It also seems to change White Fang's perception of people and their environment.
Environment 14: Scott's ability to teach White Fang is demonstrated again, as well as White Fang's amazing ability to learn and adapt. White Fang learns well the lesson of not killing the chickens, and soon this will become as much a routine as all the other rules that are established.
Environment 15: In the case of Jim Hall, the man was not only maltreated in his environment, but also abnormal. The picture of Jim Hall is that of a career criminal, but one must consider how he got to that point. Hall's attempt to kill Judge Scott was justified in his mind because of the police conspiracy involved in his conviction, even though the Judge didn't know about the conspiracy.
Instinct 1: The she-wolf has no memory of ever seeing a father eat his children, but she refuses to let the father near. Something has warned her that her cubs could be in danger, and for the she-wolf, this will always be her top priority. It seems unlikely that One Eye would eat the cubs, yet she will not risk letting him near until she is certain that the cubs are safe from harm.
Instinct 2: The wall of light in the cave is a barrier through which the little gray cub must break. At this point, the cub does not even know that this wall is different than the others besides its color.He has no idea that it is an entrance. Despite this, he is driven towards the light. The warmth and sight of it beckon to him. His mother curbs this instinct for as long as she can.
Instinct 3: The cub knows the wall of light is more than just a wall; both his mother and father have passed through it. He knows that his mother does not want him to break it, and that she will be mad at him if he does. Despite this, the urge to break it grows to a point at which it can no longer be ignored. In order to follow this and continue growing, he must go through the wall of light.
Instinct 4: The cub has no understanding about danger from the water itself, and he is not warned that the river is not solid. However, his fear of the unknown is strong, and that is strengthened by his experience with the water. He is hurt by the river, and by his naive thought that the river was solid. His distrust of the unknown seems to be strengthened by this experience.
Instinct 5: The cub recognizes man as superior not only because of his use of tools and fire, but also because of instinctual knowledge passed down to him from his ancestors.
Instinct 6: White Fang is not really a domesticated dog. He is three-quarters wolf, and as such his wolf instincts are stronger than his dog instincts. He recognizes the Indians as superior beings, and gives over to their mastery, but there are certainly parts of him that wish to be back in the Wild. As a wolf, he wants hunt and to live in the Wild, therefore his life among the dogs of the Indian camp is contrary to his instinct. He seems caught between two worlds, the camp and the Wild, as well as between two lives: the wolf and the domesticated dog.
Instinct 7: Respect for females seems instinctual to male wolves. White Fang comes upon his mother, Kiche, which triggers memories in him. However, Kiche acts from a deeper instinct, trying to protect her litter of cubs. She slashes at White Fang and, indeed, seems not to remember him at all. Despite this, he does not retaliate. He knows on some level that females must be protected in order to have healthy young cubs.
Instinct 8: As White Fang leads the dogs pulling the sled, he is at war with himself. He knows that Mit-sah does not want him to turn around, and that he will enforce this with the whip. However, he desperately wants to turn around and defend himself against all the dogs running behind him, chasing at his tail.
Instinct 9: The dogs of Fort Yukon know that White Fang is a wolf from the Wild, and that means he is their enemy. None of them really know anything about the Wild, but they are born with hatred for it and for the unknown dangers in it. Because of this, they attack White Fang viciously.
Instinct 10: In this passage, Weedon Scott is attempting to tame White Fang after long abuse by Beauty Smith. Although White Fang has certainly been affected by the abuse, his need to bite Scott's hand seems to be a natural reaction in some ways. Something approaching the head area, like a hand, obviously means an attack to White Fang.
Instinct 11: White Fang needs to follow his master, whom he loves, and yet he cannot harm Collie. She is a female, and hurting her seems to be something his instincts forbid. He finally chooses to simply knock her over and run off to pursue his real goal - Scott.
The Wild 1: Here is the case of the man in the coffin, Lord Albert, who has been beaten by the Wild. The text insists that life itself is contrary to the Wild, and that a person will be beaten until broken by life in the Wild.
The Wild 2: Henry is at a point of sheer horror, as he is surrounded by ravenous wolves, which he is certain will devour him momentarily. But there is also order in the scene. The wolves will eat Henry just as Henry ate smaller animals. There is a chain of command that exists in the Wild.
The Wild 3: One Eye participates in battle and in treachery in order to win the love of the she-wolf. He fights out two other possible mates, and emerges victorious.
The Wild 4: The she-wolf has just found White Fang's father's body near the lynx's cave. She knows the lynx is dangerous, and she will not fight her if it is not necessary. However, for the sake of her child, she will put her life on the line and fight the lynx. Only the cruelty of famine and starvation have put her in a position in which she will confront the lynx.
The Wild 5: As White Fang adjusts to the Indian camp, he has to fight many of the urges that develop inside him. Even though he learns to survive and flourish, although lonely in the Indian camp, a part of him remembers the power of the Wild and his time in it. He recalls both the fights against the Wild and the times during which the Wild helped him win. He also is not used to having a master, and remembers the time when he could roam free.
The Wild 6: The dogs in the Indian camp can sense that White Fang is not really like them. He is only a quarter dog, and he was born and raised in the Wild as a cub. To the dogs, the Wild is the unknown, and contains dangerous and terrible things. The dogs have been in the Indian camp all their lives, and have never experienced anything else. White Fang comes from that horrible unknown. Because of the torture other dogs heap on him, he becomes vicious and a loner.
The Wild 7: White Fang is attacked again for being from the Wild. Collie is a sheep dog, and her heritage and training taught her that a wolf is the worst manifestation of the Wild, and that the wolf would steal the property of her master. To her, he represents everything horrible and evil about the Wild. It is her job, as a sheep dog, to protect her master and his property against this particular threat.
The Wild 8: As White Fang rests and does little hunting or work at Sierra Vista, he is still avoided by his fellow dogs, and is harassed by Collie. Despite this easygoing lifestyle, it is possible that the Wild still lives in him. He is a wolf by nature, and he remembers that. The family and dogs are afraid the Wild, and think that it will cause him to do harm. However, in the end, it is that part of him that is able to act quickly and attack Jim Hall. White Fang's vicious side saved the Scott family.
The novel begins with a description of the land around a frozen river, somewhere in the Northland. On the river, a group of dogs pull a sled carrying a coffin.
"On the sled, in the box, lay a third man whose toil was over, - a man whom the Wild had conquered and beaten down until he would never move nor struggle again. It is not the way of the Wild to like movement. Life is an offense to it, for life is movement; and the Wild aims always to destroy movement." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 4
Topic Tracking: The Wild 1
Two men, Bill and Henry, drive the sled towards its destination. As the sun sets they hear a sound: faint at first and then stronger. It is howling. The two men realize that they are being chased by a pack of wolves. Food is so scarce that the wolves are hunting men. Bill and Henry pitch camp and build a fire. The wolves watch from just beyond the other side of the fire.
Bill remarks to Henry that, while feeding the dogs, he noticed that there were seven instead of six. He had brought six fish, and one dog, One Ear, did not get a fish. There are tracks in the snow where the seventh dog ran back to the wolf pack. They talk about the seventh dog, and about how lucky the rich man in the coffin is. As they talk, the wolves surround the camp, and their eyes can be seen in the darkness all around. Bill only has three cartridges left in his gun. He wishes they could be sitting in Fort McGurry playing cards. The men finally go to sleep, and as they sleep the wolves draw in closer around the camp. The dogs snarl at the wolves, finally waking Bill up. He gets up and puts more wood on the fire, and the wolves back up a little. He finally returns to Henry, waking him up to tell him that there are seven dogs again.
They go back to sleep. In the morning, Henry wakes up and gets Bill out of bed. Henry makes breakfast while Bill gets the sled ready. Bill realizes that instead of six dogs, now only five remain. He tells Henry that one of the dogs, Fatty, is missing. He ran away, and must have quickly been eaten by the wolf pack. Neither Bill nor Henry can understand why a dog would commit suicide like that, and they decide that Fatty must have been a fool, and maybe crazy.
At the end of the next day, as they set up camp, Bill manages to get a whack at the extra dog that keeps infiltrating the team, but doesn't really get a good look. They eat supper, and afterwards sit on the coffin smoking their pipes. They go to bed, and wake up the next morning to a disturbing surprise. Another one of their dogs, Frog, is missing. They both agree that Frog was the strongest of all the dogs, and not a fool. Not lingering long on the subject, the two men eat breakfast and set out with the four dogs that are left.
That night, as they set up camp, Bill ties up the dogs individually; using sticks so they can't reach the ties to chew their way through them. As night continues, the dogs try frantically to get free. Bill and Henry can see a doglike shape moving around the remaining dogs. They realize it is a she-wolf who is acting as a decoy to lure the dogs away from camp so that they can be eaten by the wolf pack. After watching the she-wolf and how close she gets to the fire, Bill and Henry decide that she must be a dog who has become wild and joined the pack, otherwise she would not be so comfortable around the camp. "I reckon you've called the turn, Bill. That wolf's a dog, an' it's eaten fish many's the time from the hand of man." Part 1, Chapter 2, pg. 13
Topic Tracking: Environment 1
In the morning, Bill finds out that one of the dogs, Spanker, managed to get loose. It seems that One Ear chewed through Spanker's ties. The two men pack up camp and leave, and soon they find all that is left of Spanker: the stick Bill used to tie him up. The wolves were so hungry they ate the whole dog, including hide and hair, as well as the leather ties on the stick. The men continue on, and Henry remarks on how unhappy Bill seems.
In the afternoon, Bill decides to scout out the wolves, taking the rifle with him. He returns, and tells Henry how the wolves seem sure that they are going to eventually overcome the men, as they are looking for other food at the same time and not totally concentrating on the hunt. He also remarks how thin the wolves look; they are desperately hungry, and won't let anything stop them from getting food.
Soon after Bill's return, the she-wolf begins to visibly follow behind them, no longer trying to hide her pursuit. She is a large animal, with a normal gray wolf coat that had a strange reddish tinge to it. With her in plain sight, Bill has a clear shot. However, the minute he brings the gun out, she jumps out of sight. Bill swears he's going to get her eventually. As the men camp, Bill ties up the dogs again, this time out of chewing distance from each other.
The next day begins well as none of the dogs have escaped. They set out, and soon get into trouble as the sled overturns on a bad part of the trail. The sled is jammed between a tree and a rock, and the dogs are taken out of their harness in order to untangle the sled. As they are let out, One Ear runs away and meets the she-wolf. She lures him away, and he is attacked by the circling wolf pack. One Ear runs with great energy to escape, but his case is obviously hopeless. Bill goes to help him with the rifle. From the distance, Henry can hear the last of Bill's ammunition, as well as One Ear's cry as he dies. He knows that Bill has been eaten also.
Henry sits for a while, and then rouses himself. He attaches the two remaining dogs to the sled and, putting himself into a harness, starts off again. Soon he makes camp, making sure there is plenty of firewood. As he begins to go to bed, the wolves are already too close. They circle the fire, waiting. Through the night, the wolves approach closer, and sometimes he has to take burning wood from the fire and warn them back with it.
In the morning, Henry takes the coffin off the sled and ties it up in a tree, to save the body from being eaten. Then he sets off again, and camps long before dark, using the last hours of day to chop firewood.
"As he piled wood on the fire he discovered an appreciation of his own body which he had never felt before...It fascinated him, and he grew suddenly fond of this subtle flesh of his that worked so beautifully and smoothly and delicately. Then he would cast a glance of fear at the wolf-circle drawn expectantly about him, and like a blow the realization would strike him that this wonderful body of his, this living flesh, was no more than so much meat, a quest of ravenous animals, to be torn and slashed by their hungry fangs, to be sustenance to them as the moose and the rabbit had often been sustenance to him." Part 1, Chapter 3, pg. 23
Topic Tracking: The Wild 2
As the morning comes, the wolves do not leave like they normally do. Henry tries to get the sled on the trail again, but when he leaves the fire the wolves attack, and he has to stay with the fire. Day passes again, and as night comes, Henry can no longer stay awake. After dozing once, he wakes up to find the she-wolf a yard away. He thrusts a burning stick into her mouth, forcing her to retreat.
To keep awake, he ties a burning pine knot to his hand, and it wakes him up every few minutes. However, he doesn't fasten it well, and so falls asleep. He wakes to find a wolf is chewing at his arm. Henry scoops up hot coals and flings them around himself, scorching the wolves. He sees that the two remaining dogs are gone. He has a new idea - extending the fire into a larger circle around him. He quickly does this, and it keeps the wolves at bay. The next morning, the fire is burning low. Henry attempts to step outside it to fetch wood, but the wolves are ready to attack. He drifts in and out of sleep.
Six men crouching around him prod him and force him to wake up. The wolves are gone! They ask him about Lord Alfred, and Henry tells them that he is hanging in a tree, in his coffin. As Henry collapses back to sleep, he can hear the faint cries of the wolf pack chasing new game.
The she-wolf, hearing the men approaching to rescue Henry, leads the pack away. A large gray wolf, the young leader, runs at the front of the pack. He likes the she-wolf, and is kind to her. He often runs close to her, and she bites him when he gets too close. An old, scarred wolf, One Eye, runs on the other side of the she-wolf. He also runs too close to her at times, and she is forced to snap at him. Sometimes both of them crowd around her at once, growling and threatening each other. At times, a young three-year-old wolf, normally to the right of One Eye, tries to run with the she-wolf, and the young leader and One Eye threaten him.
Soon the wolf pack splits in half, and the she-wolf, the young leader, and One Eye lead their half down to the Mackenzie River. The wolves leave one by one, and soon there is only the young leader, One Eye, and the three-year-old, all pursing the she-wolf.
The three-year-old, in a moment of ambition, rips One Eye's ear, and a battle starts. It is not a fair fight, however, because the young leader joins in, and the three-year-old is soon beaten. He dies for love of the she-wolf. One Eye and the young leader look to the she-wolf for approval. As the young leader turns his head to lick a wound on his shoulder, his neck is left open, and One Eye slashes his throat open. Although the young leader tries to fight back, soon the loss of blood is too much, and he too loses his life for the she-wolf's love.
"She was made glad in vague ways by the battle, for this was the love-making of the Wild, the sex-tragedy of the natural world that was tragedy only to those that died. To those that survived it was not tragedy, but realization and achievement." Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 33
Topic Tracking: The Wild 3
Soon One Eye and the she-wolf become comrades, hunting and chasing as the days pass by. They travel across the country, and down the Mackenzie River. One night, One Eye and the she-wolf halt suddenly as they hear the sound of men and dogs. It is an Indian camp. "She was thrilling to a desire that urged her to go forward, to be in closer to that fire, to be squabbling with the dogs, and to be avoiding and dodging the stumbling feet of men." Part 2, Chapter 1, pg. 35 However, One Eye convinces her to continue their journey.
Topic Tracking: Environment 2
Soon they come upon a rabbit, and chase it for food. As One Eye is about to pounce, the rabbit steps into a trap made out of a small tree and flies into the air, out of his range. Not understanding, One Eye crouches in fear. He goes to get the rabbit again, and the she-wolf solves the problem by biting off the rabbit's head. They eat the rabbit together and continue on.
The wolves hang around the Indian camp for two days, until rifle fire chases them off. The she-wolf takes One Ear on another short journey, searching for a cave. Traveling up a frozen stream, she finds it. Inspecting it, she collapses inside.
One Ear is hungry, but its clear the she-wolf has no desire to go hunting. He returns after eight hours, unable to catch any game. When he returns, he hears strange sounds, and is warned away by the she-wolf. After sleeping at the cave entrance, he can see inside when the sun rises. His mate has had puppies. The she-wolf is very wary of One Ear, and growls at him when he comes too close. "Of her own experience she had no memory of the thing happening; but in her instinct, which was the experience of all mothers of wolves, there lurked a memory of fathers that had eaten their new-born and helpless progeny." Part 2, Chapter 2, pg. 40
Topic Tracking: Instinct 1
Soon he leaves, realizing he must get food for his newly born young. Meeting a porcupine, he knows its tricks; he was a victim of its quills before. At the sight of the wolf, the porcupine rolls up into a ball of quills. One Ear lays down a foot away, waiting for it to unroll. Eventually he just gives up and moves on.
The urge to find food for his young still drives him. Capturing a small bird, a ptarmigan, he begins to bring it back to the cave. On the way back, he sees a large female lynx crouching next to the porcupine he left behind. Neither of them moves for half an hour as One Eye watches. Finally, the porcupine decides that the predator has gone away. It begins to unroll. Soon the lynx is on it, but is hurt by the quills. In anger, she attacks the porcupine, and her nose is filled with quills.
In pain and agony, she finally leaves the porcupine, crying out as she makes her way on the trail. One Eye, seeing the injured porcupine, approached the animal. Cautious of the quills, he watches as the porcupine dies, and drags the animal with him to feed his babies. When he arrives at the cave, the she-wolf is grateful for the food. However, she still won't let him get too close to the wolf cubs.
The young wolf is gray like his father, and all his brothers and sisters have their mother's reddish tinge. His eyes have not been open long, but he can see well, and he plays with his brothers and sisters. He has slept most of the first month of his life, but now he can see the walls of the cave. He knows nothing of the outside world, although he can see that one wall is different than the rest. This wall is the source of light, the mouth of the cave. His brothers and sisters always crawl towards the light, and the she-wolf always forces them back. In this way they learn that their mother can also punish as well as care for them. He learns that when he goes towards the light, his mother hurts him. He is a fierce cub and a meat-eater. He is the most aggressive of the litter, and growls louder than any of them. Every day, the light from the mouth of the cave calls to him.
"He was always striving to attain it. The life that was so swiftly expanding within him, urged him continually toward the wall of light. The life that was within him knew that it was the one way out, the way he was predestined to tread." Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 48
Topic Tracking: Instinct 2
He also knows that his father enters through the wall of light. Seeing him pass through, he tries to go through other walls, but simply injures his nose. He accepts disappearing into walls as something specific to his father.
Soon there comes a shortage of food, his mother no longer gives milk, and there is no meat. The cubs stay in a coma from lack of food. One Eye travels far to find food for the children, and the she-wolf eventually leaves them to also look for food. When the cub is able to eat and be strong again, he finds out he only has one sister left. Soon she does not move any more. The food does not come in time.
Later, after another famine, his father does not come back. The she-wolf knows why he doesn't return, but she has no way of telling the cub. She had found him near the lynx's lair, no longer alive. From that point on, she will always avoid that area of the forest.
"But the Wild is the Wild, and motherhood is motherhood, at all times fiercely protective whether in the Wild or out of it; and the time was to come when the she-wolf, for her gray cub's sake, would venture the left fork, and the lair in the rocks, and the lynx's wrath." Part 2, Chapter 3, pg. 50
Topic Tracking: The Wild 4
As the cub's mother begins to leave the cave regularly to hunt, he knows he cannot leave. His mother taught him well, and he will not go near the wall of light. Besides his mother's punishments, he is beginning to feel fear. "Thus it was that in obedience to the law laid down by his mother, and in obedience to the law of that unknown and nameless thing, fear, he kept away from the mouth of the cave." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg.51
When is mother is gone, he sleeps. While lying there, he hears the cry of a wolverine. Although he doesn't know what the sound is, he knows it is terrible, and hides out of instinct. He is relieved when his mother returns.
"But there were other forces at work in the cub, the greatest of which was growth. Instinct and law demanded of him obedience. But growth demanded disobedience....In the end, one day, fear and obedience were swept away by the rush of life, and the cub straddled and sprawled toward the entrance." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 52
Topic Tracking: Instinct 3
As he leaves the cave and sees the forest around him, he is very afraid. He wants to explore, but he has lived his whole life on the level floor of the cave, and does not know what a fall is. He steps into the open air, and falls downward on the slope. When he finally reaches the bottom, he wails and licks himself. However, he soon finds that the hurt is over, and he wants again to explore.
He finds many things. He snarls at a squirrel, and meets a woodpecker and a moose-bird, who pecks at him when he approaches. He travels in a clumsy manner, running into sticks and twigs. He is not used to the pebbles and stones.
By sheer luck, he falls into a nest of ptarmigans. Walking on the trunk of a fallen tree, the rotten wood gives way, and he is in among seven chicks. He decides to eat one, and is soon attacked by the mother-ptarmigan. In his first battle, he forgets all about his fear, and attacks, biting and holding her wing. Eventually the ptarmigan stops struggling. She starts pecking him on the nose, hurting him and making him run away. As he hides in a bush, a hawk swoops down from above, barely missing him, and finally taking the ptarmigan. He is very afraid, but learns a lesson. He stays in his shelter for a long while.
The urge to hunt and explore overcomes again, and he goes looking for another ptarmigan hen. He comes across a stream and, because it looks solid, he steps out into it. It is very cold, and the water is rushing into his lungs. Finally he comes up for air, and starts swimming as if he had been taught. Going for the bank, he is swept downstream by the current, and is caught in the small rapids at the bottom of a pool. He is spit out into a second pool, where the current bears him gently to the shore.
"His conclusion was that things were not always what they appeared to be. The cub's fear of the unknown was an inherited distrust, and it had now been strengthened by experience. Thenceforth, in the nature of things, he would possess an abiding distrust of appearances." Part 2, Chapter 4, pg. 58-59
Topic Tracking: Environment 3
Topic Tracking: Instinct 4
He remembers his mother, and wants to be with her. He begins to look for the cave again, and comes along a young weasel. He turns it over with his paw, and immediately feels a blow from the sharp teeth of the mother-weasel. He yelps, and the mother-weasel disappears with her young into the thicket. She returns, slowly this time, without her young. He sees her snakelike body as she comes closer and closer. Finally, she leaps and buries her teeth in his throat. He struggles a little, but is soon overcome. He can't escape, and would die. His mother then bounds through the bushes and breaks the weasel's hold on her son. She closes her jaws on its body. Nuzzling him, the she-wolf licks her son's wounds. They eat the weasel, and then go back to the cave and sleep.
Two days later, the cub leaves the cave again. He is learning to be cautious in his hunting, except when he knows he can overcome his opponent. Every day, his need to find meat is growing stronger. He respects his mother, who always brings home meat.
Famine comes again, however, and his mother spends most of her time looking for meat. His mother finally returns with food, a lynx kitten. He does not know how desperate she is to steal the lynx's children. After he eats it and is sleeping, he hears his mother snarling terribly, and at the mouth of the cave sees the lynx crouching. She gives a cry of rage.
Because the cave ceiling is so low, the lynx cannot leap. When she rushes towards the she-wolf, the wolf pins her down. They wrangle on the floor viciously. The cub tries to help by sinking his teeth into the lynx's hind leg, but he soon looses his grip. The two mothers separate, but before they rush together again the lynx slashes at the cub with her paw. His shoulder is cut to the bone, and he is flung to the wall.
Finally, the lynx is killed. But the she-wolf is sick and very weak. For a week she doesn't leave the cave, but by the time the lynx is all eaten she is able to hunt again. The cub begins to go with his mother on her hunts, and he learns the law of the meat.
"The aim of life was meat. Life itself was meat. Life lived on life. There were the eaters and the eaten. The law was: EAT OR BE EATEN. He did not formulate the law in clear, set terms and moralize about it. He did not even think the law; he merely lived the law without thinking about it at all." Part 2, Chapter 5, pg. 65
Topic Tracking: Environment 4
The cub, through carelessness and thirst, runs down to the stream to drink and doesn't take notice of his surroundings. It is because of this that he comes upon his first meeting with men. He does not run away, and cannot move. "In dim ways he recognized in man the animal that had fought itself to primacy over the other animals of the Wild. Not alone out of his own eyes, but out of the eyes of all his ancestors was the cub now looking upon man." Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 67
Topic Tracking: Instinct 5
One of the Indians walks over to him and tries to pick him up. The cub wants to both yield and fight back, and when he is touched he bites the Indian's hand. He receives a blow to the head from the Indian's club. He hears the wail of his mother, and waits for the she-wolf to come rescue him. She arrives and he runs to her as the men back away. However, with surprise, one of them shouts, "Kiche!" One of them, Gray Beaver recognizes her as his brother's dog, and her name is Kiche. He will take both her and her son, who will be known as White Fang back to the Indian camp. Kiche is tied up, and White Fang is rolled on his back and his belly is rubbed. He doesn't understand this sensation, and is wary.
Soon the entire camp is there, and White Fang encounters the dogs of the camp, who spring upon him. Their masters, who protect White Fang, club them. Somehow he knows that the dogs are like him, but different, and that the men are masters of all of them.
White Fang and Kiche go down the valley of the stream until they reach the Mackenzie River. There the Indians set up camp, and White Fang is amazed by the teepees of the Indian camp. White Fang is now approached by an older puppy, Lip-lip. Thinking he is friendly, White Fang lets down his guard, but Lip-lip snaps at his shoulder, which had been hurt by the lynx. White Fang springs upon him viciously, but Lip-lip is a more experienced fighter, and soon White Fang runs back to his mother's protection.
White Fang also does not know about fire. At night, he approaches a fire, touches his nose to the flame, and tries to lick it. "It was the worst hurt he had ever known." Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 76 He cries and cries, and tries to ease the pain with his tongue, but that is burnt as well. The men of the camp laugh at him, and in shame he runs back to Kiche. He lays by her side, hurting and homesick. Watching all the animals around, he misses the quiet of the cave. But he sees the men and knows their power. "They were firemakers! They were gods!" Part 3, Chapter 1, pg. 76
During the day, White Fang travels around the camp exploring. He comes to know the men as gods, and worthy of obedience.
"But it did not all happen in a day, this giving over of himself, body and soul, to the man-animals. He could not immediately forego his wild heritage and his memories of the Wild. There were days when he crept to the edge of the forest and stood and listened to something calling him far and away." Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 78
Topic Tracking: Instinct 6
Topic Tracking: The Wild 5
Most of all, White Fang hates Lip-lip, because Lip-lip is always torturing White Fang. However, this does not make White Fang cowardly, but rather mean and melancholy. Whenever he approaches the dogs, Lip-lip is upon him, and so White Fang is robbed of his childhood and becomes a loner.
In order to punish Lip-lip, White Fang sometimes lures him into range of Kiche's leash. White Fang is the best runner of the dogs, and Lip-lip chases him right to Kiche without knowing it. Kiche punishes Lip-lip soundly, rolling him over and ripping at him with her fangs. He is badly injured, and runs away, pursued by White Fang.
Gray Beaver finally decides that Kiche will no longer run away, and releases her. This allows White Fang to have protection against Lip-lip around camp. White Fang tries to get his mother to run back to the forest, but she will not go. She knows she must stay with the men. Soon they are separated, because Gray Beaver must give Kiche to another Indian, Three Eagles, to pay a debt. White Fang tries to follow her, to swim after her, but is stopped by Gray Beaver, who gives White Fang a heavy beating.
White Fang mourns for his mother, but cannot mourn too loudly, or else Gray Beaver beats him. Gray Beaver is his master. "It was during this period that he might have hearkened to the memories of the lair and the stream and run back to the Wild. But the memory of his mother held him....So he remained in his bondage waiting for her." Part 3, Chapter 2, pg. 83
Topic Tracking: Environment 5
Life with Gray Beaver is not altogether unpleasant. Gray Beaver sometimes tosses him a piece of meat, and defends him against other dogs. However, Gray Beaver never pets or caresses White Fang.
Lip-lip begins to treat White Fang even worse, and so White Fang becomes more ferocious and savage. He is an outcast among the dogs, and all of them help Lip-lip in treating White Fang badly. "Out of this pack-persecution he learned two important things: how to take care of himself in a mass-fight against him; and how, on a single dog, to inflict the greatest amount of damage in the briefest space of time." Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 85
Topic Tracking: Environment 6
White Fang, as of yet, does not have jaws strong enough to kill by a throat attack, but he tries, and many dogs receive injured throats because of him. Soon, he meets an enemy dog of his alone, and by attacking its throat many times, manages to kill it. Because of this, all the men of the camp, as well as the dogs hate him. This causes him to become even more vicious.
White Fang is a complete outcast from the camp. White Fang attacks any dog walking alone, and so the dogs begin to travel together all the time. The dogs always attack him, and he always attacks them. He often leads them on chases through the forest.
"He became quicker of movement than the other dogs, swifter of foot, craftier, deadlier, more lithe, more lean with ironlike muscle and sinew, more enduring, more cruel more ferocious, and more intelligent. He had to become all these things, else he would not have held his own nor survived the hostile environment in which he found himself." Part 3, Chapter 3, pg. 89
Topic Tracking: Environment 7
The fall comes, and White Fang gets his chance to escape from his bondage. The camp is being dismantled to leave for fall hunting. White Fang is going to stay behind. He slips out of the camp to the woods, and soon he can hear Gray Beaver, his Gray Beaver's son, Mit-sah, and Gray Beaver's squaw, Kloo-kooch, searching for him. After a while, they leave, and White Fang is alone. It is cold, and he is hungry. "His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him. He had forgotten how to shift for himself. The night yawned about him." Part 3, Chapter 4, pg. 91
Topic Tracking: Environment 8
The silence around him and the unexpected noises put him into a panic. He makes it back to the village, but there is no one there. They have moved away. He walks through the deserted camp to where Gray Beaver's teepee had been, and stays there for the night.
As the day comes, he realizes his loneliness, and begins his journey to find the camp. He runs, and after thirty hours is bruised and incredibly tired. Finally he comes upon the Indians camping as they wait to cross the river. White Fang expects a beating, but slowly walks forward into the camp and towards Gray Beaver. He reluctantly approaches and lies down, waiting for the beating. Instead, Gray Beaver offers White Fang some food, and yells for meat to be brought. White Fang falls asleep next to Gray Beaver, content in his protection.
In December, Gray Beaver goes on a journey up the Mackenzie River with Mit-sah and Kloo-kooch. Besides the sled, which Gray Beaver drives, Mit-sah also has a sled with puppies in the harnesses. White Fang is harnessed to Mit-sah's sled. The ropes are set up so that the dogs cannot attack those in front of them, and would have to attack those behind them face to face. Mit-sah had seen White Fang's injuries from Lip-lip, and so he puts Lip-lip at the head of the pack. This is not really a position of honor, for he is always running away from the pack, and the pack is always chasing his tail. Mit-sah uses his whip heavily on Lip-lip in punishment for his abuse of White Fang.
White Fang is a natural sled dog, and works hard. Lip-lip, however, is hated by all the dogs, and they attack him as they once attacked White Fang. White Fang could become leader, but he is too much of a loner. He just continues to keep other dogs in terror of him, attacking them when alone and stealing their food. "White Fang knew the law well: to oppress the weak and obey the strong." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 98 The journey continues for months, and White Fang passes through many camps of strange men. He finds that he does not love Gray Beaver, although he respects him greatly.
"White Fang was glad to acknowledge his lordship, but it was lordship based upon superior intelligence and brute strength....There were deeps in his nature which had never been sounded. A kind word, a caressing touch of the hand, on the part of Gray Beaver, might have sounded these deeps; but Gray Beaver did not caress nor speak kind words. It was not his way." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 99
However, in a village at the Great Slave Lake, White Fang learns that not all laws are absolute. He learns that there are times when it is right to bite a man. In he village, White Fang is foraging for food and comes upon a boy cutting frozen moose-meat. Small pieces are flying to the ground, and White Fang begins to eat some of the chips. The boy tries to beat White Fang with a club, but misses. White Fang runs away, but the boy runs after him and corners him. He prepares to strike White Fang, even though White Fang knows that he has done nothing wrong. He knows that any wasted meat belong to the dogs. In a moment of rage and fear, he bites the hand of the boy.
He runs quickly to Gray Beaver for his protection, and when the boy's relatives come, Gray Beaver defends White Fang's actions. The boy that was bitten, and friends of his, encounter Mit-sah alone, and begin to beat him. White Fang, in anger, rushes in and begins to attack the boys causing harm to his master's son. The boys run away, and when White Fang returns to Gray Beaver he is treated as a hero.
In this way, White Fang fulfills the covenant between him and his master. "Food and fire, protection and companionship, were some of the things he received from the god. In return, he guarded the god's property, defended his body, worked for him, and obeyed him." Part 3, Chapter 5, pg. 102 But White Fang knows nothing of love, and does not remember Kiche.
In April, the journey is finished, and White Fang returns to the home village. He has grown much, and it is clear that he is of a pure wolf strain. He looks slender and his coat is gray like a wolf's coat. He is the largest puppy in the village, except for Lip-lip.
One older dog, Baseek, who before the journey would have frightened him, has been growing weaker with age. At one point, White Fang is given a large amount of meat from a moose that has just been cut up. Eating it alone, Baseek catches him and tries to take his meat. Immediately, White Fang slashes him twice and springs away. Looking fierce, Baseek pulls himself up, and White Fang is frightened of him. However, the smell of meat is strong, and Baseek tries to start eating it in front of White Fang. This is too much, and White Fang strikes at Baseek's right ear, tearing it into shreds. Baseek is knocked over, and White Fang bites at his throat. Now the situation is reversed, and Baseek is forced to walk away.
The confrontation gives White Fang greater faith in himself, and greater pride. In midsummer, White Fang comes upon a new teepee, and finds Kiche there, remembering her vaguely. But when he approaches, she snarls at him. She does not remember him and tries to bite him.
"This was a female of his kind, and it was a law of his kind that the males must not fight the females. He did not know anything about this law, for it was no generalization of the mind, not a something acquired by experience in the world. He knew it as a secret prompting, as an urge of instinct - of the same instinct that made him howl at the moon and starts of nights and that made him fear death and the unknown." Part 3, Chapter 6, pg. 106
Topic Tracking: Instinct 7
White Fang continues to grow as the months go by, becoming stronger and more compact. He also becomes more solitary and ferocious. He cannot stand being laughed at, and flies into a horrible rage. When he is being laughed at, he attacks all the dogs of the camp in anger.
When White Fang is three, a famine comes to the Mackenzie Indians. There is no food, and the dogs begin to eat one another. The old and weak of the Indians are dying. They begin to eat the leather of their shoes and mittens. White Fang goes to the woods, and hunts small animals. He hunts squirrels, and when they become scarce, looks for mice. He encounters a young wolf, and he is so hungry that he kills and eats it.
At one point, he even meets Lip-lip, also living in the Wild. He kills him quickly, despite the fear that always goes along with his most hated enemy. Soon after, he finds a village near a different part of the river. It is the old Indian camp, just in a new location. He marches down to Gray Beaver's teepee, and is greeted with fish from Kloo-kooch. He sits down and waits for Gray Beaver to come home.
There is no longer a chance White Fang will ever get along with the other dogs, for he is now made leader on the dog sled. The dogs hate him now, and chase him all day long on the sled. There is no way out for White Fang. If he turns to face the dogs, Mit-sah cracks his whip on White Fang. But he can't fight the dogs behind him with his tail.
"One cannot violate the promptings of one's nature without having that nature recoil upon itself....Every urge of his being impelled him to spring upon the pack that cried at his heels, but it was the will of the gods that this should not be; and behind the will, to enforce it, was the whip of cariboo-gut with its biting thirty-foot lash." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 112
Topic Tracking: Instinct 8
Topic Tracking: Environment 9
At the end of the day, Mit-sah cries the command to stop the sled, and White Fang stops. At first, the other dogs keep running and attack White Fang, but they soon learn that Mit-sah will punish them with the whip. In the camp, however, the dogs are always attacking him. "Much of the Wild had been lost, so that to them the Wild was the unknown, the terrible, the ever menacing and ever warring. But to him, in appearance and action and impulse, still clung the Wild." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 213
Topic Tracking: The Wild 6
However, the dogs cannot kill White Fang; he is too quick and wise. There is no other dog nearly as ferocious as White Fang, and Gray Beaver finds this amazing. When White Fang is almost five, he and Gray Beaver go on another journey to the Yukon. In their travels, the dogs they meet are not prepared for White Fang. He is a fighting machine.
In the summer, White Fang and Gray Beaver arrive at Fort Yukon. There is the old Hudson's Bay Company fort, and Gray Beaver stops. He has heard rumors of gold, and he has come with furs and leather to trade. It is at Fort Yukon that White Fang sees his first white man, and sees that they are even more powerful than the Indians.
He also fights with their dogs, and finds that they are weak and clumsy. He often strikes them at the throat and allows the other Indian dogs to kill them, thereby avoiding the punishment that comes from killing a dog. The dogs also learn to wait for steamboats, bringing more white men. Their dogs come off the boats and can be easily attacked.
"And so, fresh from the soft southern world, these dogs, trotting down the gang-plank and out upon the Yukon shore, had but to see White Fang to experience the irresistible impulse to rush upon him and destroy him. They might be town-reared dogs, but the instinctive fear of the Wild was theirs just the same." Part 4, Chapter 1, pg. 119
Topic Tracking: Instinct 9
Only a few white men live in Fort Yukon. They are called Sour-doughs because, lacing baking powder, they make their bread with sourdough. They dislike the newcomers and enjoy seeing White Fang kill their dogs. One man really enjoys watching the fights - Beauty Smith. He is a horrible person; an evil creature. "In short, Beauty Smith was a monstrosity, and the blame of it lay elsewhere. He was not responsible. The clay of him had been moulded in the making." Part 4, Chapter 2, p.121
Beauty comes to Gray Beaver's camp to try and buy White Fang. Gray Beaver refuses to sell. Beauty gives up, but returns often, and always with whiskey. Soon, Gray Beaver is addicted to the whiskey, and slowly loses all of his money to his thirst. Again, Beauty tries to buy White Fang, and this time he is paying in bottles of whiskey. Gray Beaver agrees to the trade.
Beauty Smith tries to take White Fang, but is bitten. He leaves the camp and returns with a club. White Fang tries to resist going with Beauty, but is beaten. He finally gives in. However, when he is tied, he quickly bites through the leather and returns to Gray Beaver's camp.
In the morning Gray Beaver brings him back to Beauty Smith, and White Fang receives another beating. Beauty beats White Fang again, with a whip. A weaker dog would have died from the beating, and White Fang is very sick afterwards. Gray Beaver leaves, and goes back to the Mackenzie River. White Fang is tied with chain instead of leather. He cannot escape, and he knows he must do what his new master wants.
As Beauty's dog, White Fang becomes a fiend. He is kept chained in a pen and is taunted often by Beauty. One day, another dog is put into the pen with White Fang, a large mastiff. White Fang fights quickly and aggressively, leaping around and slashing the mastiff many times. The mastiff is dragged from the cage by his owner. From then on, White Fang starts to look forward to fighting with other dogs. He is a prisoner, and his hate can only be set loose when another dog enters the pen. He is always the winner, even against three dogs or a wolf caught in the Wild.
In the fall, Beauty brings White Fang from Fort Yukon to Dawson. White Fang is now known as "The Fighting Wolf" for his accomplishments in fighting other dogs. They ride on a steamboat, and there are always men around the cage, looking in. White Fang hates them and snarls at them.
"They were his environment, these men, and they were moulding the clay of him into a more ferocious thing than had been intended by Nature. Nevertheless, Nature had given him plasticity. Where many another animal would have died or had its spirit broken, he adjusted himself and lived, and at no expense of the spirit." Part 4, Chapter 3, pg. 130
Topic Tracking: Environment 10
In Dawson, White Fang becomes an attraction, and people come to see the wild beast in the cage. He is not given any rest, and is kept in a rage to entertain the audiences. White Fang is quicker than any other dog, and more aggressive. Fewer people want their dogs to fight White Fang, because they know the outcome. The Indians capture wolves to fight him, and finally he is pitted against a lynx. White Fang must fight for his life against it, but in the end he is the victor, and there is no one left for him to fight. Everyone knows White Fang will always win. But in the spring Tim Keenan arrives with his bulldog, Cherokee.
Beauty Smith takes the chain off White Fang's neck, and Tim Keenan shoves the bulldog, Cherokee, towards him. Cherokee is lazy and just sits there, not making a move. White Fang strikes, tearing Cherokee's ear and jumping away. Cherokee is confused because he cannot get close to White Fang. In all his fights before, both he and his opponent wanted to get close. But White Fang fights like a cat. White Fang tries to knock Cherokee over, but the bulldog is too squat and close to the ground. White Fang tries to topple him too many times, and at last loses his balance. In this moment, Cherokee clamps down on his throat.
White Fang tears around, trying to get free, but cannot. There is nothing he can do. He does not understand what is happening, and has never fought anyone like this before. "The bulldog's method was to hold what he had, and when opportunity favored to work in for more. Opportunity favored when White Fang remained quiet. When White Fang struggled, Cherokee was content merely to hold on." Part 4, Chapter 4, pg. 137 There is simply no way to get out of the grip that Cherokee has on White Fang. It looks like the fight is over, and Cherokee has won. At last, White Fang falls backwards, exhausted, and Cherokee closes in to tighten the grip on his throat. White Fang is no longer struggling.
When he sees this, Beauty Smith gets up and begins to kick White Fang. At this, a newcomer starts to force his way through the crowd. As Beauty continues kicking White Fang, the newcomer approaches him and punches him in the face, yelling. Beauty falls, and then tries to get up again. The newcomer punches him in the face again. He calls to his friend, Matt, to help him get the bulldog off White Fang. Matt takes hold of White Fang, and is ready to pull whenever the newcomer can get Cherokee's jaws open.
He can't get them open, and his yells to the crowd for help are only met with sarcastic jeering. Slowly, bit by bit, the newcomer is able to pry Cherokee's jaws off. White Fang tries to get up several times, but cannot. The newcomer tells Beauty that he is buying the dog for one hundred and fifty dollars. Beauty protests, saying that the dog is worth a lot of money, and that he won't be robbed. The newcomer, however, insists that he is buying, and says that if Beauty tries to go to the law for help, he will have Beauty run out of town. As everyone leaves the area, Tim Keenan finally finds out who the newcomer is. He is Weedon Scott, a mining expert and a very important person.
From the beginning, the taming of White Fang looks hopeless. Scott's friend Matt notices the harness marks on his chest, and sees that he has been tamed before. But this doesn't seem to matter. White Fang has been with them two weeks and is even wilder than when they first got him.
Matt approaches him with a club, and releases the chain around his neck. White Fang does not even know he is free. It has been months since he was let loose for anything besides a fight. He doesn't understand, and he walks to the corner of the cabin, keeping both Matt and Weedon Scott in his sight.
Scott throws him some meat, and he jumps out of the way of it. Stupidly, another of Scott's dogs, Major, goes for the meat. White Fang jumps at him, and bites at Major's throat. Matt goes to White Fang and kicks him, and receives a bite in the leg in return for it. It's also clear that Major is going to die from the injury he received. Scott says that they must kill White Fang, but Matt argues and convinces Scott that White Fang should live.
Scott walks up to White Fang, talking gently and slowly bring his hand down. White Fang starts to snarl and grow tense. He knows that some punishment is going to come. "He did not want to bite the hand, and he endured the peril of it until his instinct surged up in him, mastering him with its insatiable yearning for life." Part 4, Chapter 5, pg. 144
Topic Tracking: Instinct 10
Topic Tracking: Environment 11
Matt goes for the rifle, insisting that White Fang is untamable and must be shot. When Matt reaches for the rifle, White Fang begins to growl and tense up. When Matt actually picks it up and aims it, White Fang quickly runs out of the way. Both Matt and Weedon Scott agree that White Fang is simply too intelligent to kill.
A day after White Fang had bit Weedon Scott, he goes to see the dog again. He sits down on the ground, so that White Fang can see he is in no danger. He talks for a long time, and White Fang's growl seems to fall in rhythm with his speaking. After offering food, Scott tries to pet White Fang. This makes White Fang extremely uncomfortable.
"The hand descended. Nearer and nearer it came. It touched the ends of his upstanding hair. He shrank down under it. It followed down after him, pressing more closely against him. Shrinking, almost shivering. He still managed to hold himself together. It was a torment, this hand that touched him and violated his instinct. He could not forget in a day all the evil that had been wrought him at the hands of men." Part 4, Chapter 6, pg. 152
Topic Tracking: Environment 12
Despite this, Scott is able to pet White Fang. Matt comes out of the cabin, and White Fang jumps back. Matt tells Scott that he is crazy, but Scott again goes over to White Fang and pets him. This is the end of a way of life for White Fang. He has never before experienced love. For Gray Beaver he had loyalty, but not love.
It is now that he begins to love Scott. He learns to leave the sled dogs alone, and even tolerates Matt. He begins to pull the sled, and it is different from Mit-sah's sled. It is a different formation, and the leader is not hated but rather is truly the leader. White Fang insists on being the leader, and after seeing him pull, Matt is convinced.
In spring, White Fang has a great crisis. His master disappears and does not return. The days pass, but Scott does not come back, and White Fang gets very sick. Finally, Matt brings him inside the cabin. Matt writes a letter to Scott, saying that he is afraid that White Fang is going to die. He does not eat, he won't work, and he has no spirit. Finally, Scott returns, entering the cabin and calling for White Fang. White Fang does not bound towards him, but walks quietly, and looks at him with immeasurable love. He begins to snuggle up to Scott.
White Fang can sense the coming danger, even though he doesn't know what it is. He cries outside the cabin door, and Weedon Scott and Matt can hear him. Weedon is leaving to go to California, and he can't take White Fang with him.
Scott boards the steamship with Matt and gets everything ready for his departure. As he is saying goodbye to Matt, and Matt is getting ready to go ashore, White Fang appears on the deck of the ship. Matt chases him, but he runs around the ship, easily slipping away. Scott, however, calls him, and White Fang walks right to him.
They had locked White Fang in the cabin, and they realize that he must have squeezed out of the window, despite the fact that is much too small for White Fang. He has cuts and bruises from the escape. Thinking quickly, Scott decides that he has no choice, he must take White Fang with him. They say goodbye to Matt, and depart for California on the steamboat.
White Fang is overcome when they enter San Francisco. He did not realize that such amazing things existed: automobiles, buildings, electric cars. He sees how powerful the white men are. He follows closely behind Weedon Scott, knowing how dependent he is on Scott.
White Fang is placed in a baggage car and chained in the corner. He begins to guard his master's suitcases and will not allow anyone to touch them until Scott comes to retrieve them. Finally Scott arrives, and White Fang leaves the luggage car. He finds he is no longer in the city, but rather is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
A carriage is waiting as they exit the train. A woman, Scott's mother, greets Weedon, giving him a hug. Immediately White Fang suspects danger, and ferociously snarls and growls at her. He tells White Fang to lie down, and asks his mother to hug him again. With Scott yelling at him to stay down, White Fang cautiously accepts the embrace as a normal human interaction.
Topic Tracking: Environment 13
Weedon Scott and his mother now prepare to leave on the carriage, and all of the luggage is loaded on. For fifteen minutes White Fang runs behind the carriage, making sure that no harm comes to his master. After the ride is over, White Fang enters through a stone archway into the lands belonging to the Scott family.
He is immediately met by an angry sheep dog named Collie. Because the dog is female, he will not attack her; his instinct forbids it. However, she has no such instinctual barrier, and fears White Fang because she knows he comes from the Wild. He is a wolf. She springs upon him, biting his shoulder and not allowing him to go any further. Scott decides to let White Fang deal with Collie himself, and continues the ride. White Fang cannot follow, however, as Collie still won't allow him to pass. He finally just knocks her over.
Topic Tracking: Instinct 11
Topic Tracking: The Wild 7
Running past Collie, he finally reaches the house. A new opponent attacks him, a deerhound named Dick, and White Fang is thrown from his feet. As White Fang is almost about to close on Dick's throat, Collie strikes at White Fang and he is again knocked off his feet. By this time, Scott is next to White Fang, holding him, and the dogs are called off by Weedon's father, Judge Scott.
As Weedon starts to enter the house, Scott's father suggests that White Fang and Dick stay outside to fight it out, and then they will become friends. Scott laughs, saying that White Fang will show his friendship by going to Dick's funeral once he has killed Dick. They decide that White Fang must come inside the house. White Fang enters the house, staying close to Scott and scouting all the time for danger that might attack his master.
White Fang has traveled much and is very adaptable. In Sierra Vista, Judge Scott's home, he begins to make a place for himself. He has no more trouble with the dogs, as Weedon Scott protects him. Dick soon accepts him as part of the household. White Fang does not let Dick get close to him. Collie is a different story. She accepts him because her master insists that she does, but she is a sheep dog, and the wolf is her arch-enemy. She always tries to make his life as miserable as possible.
White Fang also has to learn about the family of his master. It is very complicated for him, and he can't really understand all the relations. There is Judge Scott, Judge Scott's wife, and Weedon's two sisters, Beth and Mary. Then there is Weedon's wife, Alice, and his two children, Weedon Jr. and Maud, who are four and six years old. He begins to understand that all of them belong to Weedon Scott, and begins to realize how each of them relates to his master.
White Fang understands that the two children are valued very highly by his master, and that they are to be guarded and protected. They must be allowed to pet him, even though he doesn't like it. Eventually, he begins to like the children's attention, but does not ever seek them out. White Fang allows all members of the family to pet and caress him, but he never growls for them in the way he does for his master. They can never get him to snuggle against them as he does Weedon Scott. "This expression of abandon and surrender, of absolute trust, he reserved for the master alone." Part 5, Chapter 3, pg. 176
Outside the house, White Fang learns even more lessons. He finds that he is not allowed to go beyond the boundaries of the fences. He runs into trouble, however, with the farm animals. He has never encountered any tame animals besides dogs. All other animals are food. When he encounters a chicken, he eats it.
When Weedon is told of the occurrence, he says he will teach White Fang to leave the chickens alone, but he cannot until he catches him in the act of killing. This comes soon, as one morning Scott wakes to find that White Fang has invaded the chicken coop. Scott takes White Fang and cuffs him, rubbing his nose in the dead chickens. Then he takes White Fang to the living chickens, and forces him not to attack them. White Fang learns his lesson.
Judge Scott is skeptical, and makes a bet with Weedon. White Fang will be locked in the chicken coop, and for every chicken he kills Weedon will pay his father a gold coin. However, for every ten minutes that he does not kill a chicken, Judge Scott will say to White Fang, "White Fang, you are smarter than I thought." White Fang is locked in the chicken coop and the bet is played out. Weedon Scott wins hands down, as White Fang ignores all the chickens and eventually just jumps the fence of the coop.
Topic Tracking: Environment 14
White Fang sometimes follows his master into San Jose, the nearby town, and here are even more rules. He cannot eat the meat hanging from butcher shops, and he must put up with the attentions of other humans in town. Especially unfair is the problem of small boys, who throw stones at him.
He has a similar problem when crossing in front of a certain saloon, where three dogs often attack him. He knows he cannot fight, but feels that it is very unfair. One day, his master sees the men in the saloon encouraging their dogs to attack, and tells White Fang to go fight them. Knowing that it is against the rules, White Fang hesitates, but Weedon Scott tells him again. Soon the dogs are dead, and the men of San Jose learn that they should not encourage their dogs to attack White Fang.
Months go by at the Sierra Vista, with lots of food and little work for White Fang. He remains separate from other dogs, though he knows the rules even better than others do. "The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept." Part 5, Chapter 4, pg. 183
Topic Tracking: The Wild 8
He never spends time with other dogs, and is treated with suspicion by them;, they are all afraid of him. Only one problem really exists in his life - Collie. She simply will not become friends with White Fang, and cannot forgive him for the death of the chickens.
White Fang misses the Northlands in a very vague, unsettled way, but it isn't much of a problem. Weedon Scott often wrestles with White Fang, playing at a fight. White Fang will not allow anyone else to take part in this. This is something reserved for his master. Scott also goes out on horseback often, and White Fang runs with the horse. This is one of his favorite duties.
On one of the rides with Scott, White Fang sees a jackrabbit cause the horse to stumble and fall, giving his master a broken leg. His master tells him to run home, but White Fang doesn't want to desert his master. Scott commands him again, and he finally goes.
When White Fang arrives home, the children try to play with him, but he pushes them away. Judge Scott comments that one cannot trust a wolf. White Fang stands before them, growling, but the Judge just tells him to go lie down. He grabs at Alice's dress, trying to pull her, and is now the center of attention. He tries, but no sound comes out, and Judge Scott's wife is afraid that he is going mad. Finally, a bark bursts out of him, and Beth knows that something has happened to Weedon Scott. They follow White Fang to Scott, and from then on they trust White Fang.
As the second winter in the Southland approaches, White Fang finds that Collie is no longer vicious towards him, and there is playfulness in her nips. One day, she leads him off into the woods. White Fang knows he must ride with the master that afternoon, but instead goes with her. He runs with her as Kiche did with One Eye so long ago.
At this time, the papers are filled with news of an escaped convict, Jim Hall.
"He was a ferocious man. He had been ill-made in the making. He had not been born right, and he had not been helped any by the moulding he had received at the hands of society. The hands of society are harsh, and this man was a striking sample of its handiwork. He was a beast." Part 5, Chapter 5, pg. 189
Topic Tracking: Environment 15
The women of the Sierra Vista are filled with anxiety about this escape. Judge Scott dismisses their anxiety, but he is in more danger than anyone. He was the judge to sentence Jim Hall to prison. In court that day, Hall said he would get revenge on Judge Scott. White Fang is not supposed to sleep in the house, but every night, Alice lets White Fang in to sleep in the big hall and guard. In the morning, she lets him out before anyone gets up.
On one night, a stranger enters the house. White Fang does not make an uproar, but rather follows quietly, stalking the stranger. As the stranger starts up the stairs, White Fang attacks. Giving no warning, he lands on the man's back, burying his fangs into the back of the stranger's neck. They crash to the floor, and the whole house rises. There are gunshots, and breaking furniture and glass. Soon the commotion is done, and a gurgling is heard.
Weedon Scott turns on the light, and he and Judge Scott go down the stairs with revolvers. They find Jim Hall, his throat torn out. He is dead. They also find White Fang, totally beaten, barely able to growl as Scott pets him. The next morning the doctor arrives, and the news is bad. One leg is broken, and three ribs, one of which pierces his lung. Also, he was shot three times. The doctor says he has one chance in ten thousand.
White Fang hangs on, however. He is in plaster and bandages, unable to move. He dreams a lot. One nightmare is particularly terrible. He dreams that numbers of electric cars are descending on him. Finally, one day, the bandages are taken off, and he must try to walk. He gains the name "Blessed Wolf" from the household for his heroic deeds. Judge Scott agrees, saying that he is not a dog, but a wolf. Only a wolf could have performed such amazing deeds. As he walks again, he sees Collie and a litter of puppies. One puppy walks forward towards him, touching its nose to him. White Fang licks it on the nose. Everyone from the house cheers.
White Fang's weakness takes him over, and lies on the ground, letting all of the puppies climb over him and bask in the sun.