Free Study Guide for White Fang by Jack London - Free Book Notes|
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS
This is one of the most terrifying chapters in the book, as Bill finally falls prey to the pack of hungry wolves. One Ear cannot resist the she-wolf, who lures him away from the safety of his human companions and towards the pack. Bill’s attempt to save the dog proves futile, for he foolishly fires the last three cartridges and is still surrounded by the wolves and devoured. London is clearly developing his theme that only the fittest survive in this brutal environment.
When Henry realizes that Bill is dead, he takes precautions to protect his own life. Only fire can now save him from the wolves, who have surrounded him. The animals sleep in front of his fire, yawn, and stretch audaciously. Of course, Bill cannot sleep, for he must constantly throw firebrands at them to keep them at bay.
In the midst of all this personal danger, Henry’s gesture of protecting the coffin and the body of Lord Alfred from the wolves is touching. It shows his respect for the dead. Henry also observes his own body. He is quite fascinated by its adaptability, and he cannot get over the fact that it would be nothing but meat to a pack of ravenous wolves.
Even daylight does not seem to deter the wolves, who are closing in on Henry. He is trying to beat them by racing to reach his destination, Fort McGurry. He is slowed, however, for his team has dwindled to two dogs and his lack of sleep seems to be taking its toll on him. He dreams he is in Fort McGurry, enjoying happier times. The wolves then attack. With snarls and yelps they actually begin to eat him alive. Henry’s presence of mind saves him once again as he throws burning coals at these carnivores. His determination in the struggle to survive is remarkable. It is not until the last minute that he loses hope.
Henry, in the end of the chapter, survives his ordeal because of luck. A group of men comes upon his campsite and rescues him. He tells them his story in a few choice words and then does what he has not done for a long time -- sleeps.
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. 09 May 2017