Notes on White Fang Themes

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White Fang Topic Tracking: The Wild

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.

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