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Free Study Guide for White Fang by Jack London - Free Book Notes

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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS


PART II


CHAPTER 5


Summary

After his adventure, the cub rests for two days before setting out again. This time he encounters the baby weasel and devours it with relish. He also finds his way back to the cave easily when he is tired. In sharpening his own skills, he tries to follow the example of his mother. However, as he grows older, the she-wolf grows impatient with him.

Since food is short, the cub now goes hunting in deadly earnest, not just for the joy of it. Failure encourages him further, and he carefully hunts for squirrels, woodmice, and birds. He even challenges the hawk. The she-wolf eventually brings him the meat of a lynx cub. She herself has devoured the rest of the litter. She is later challenged to a fight by the mother lynx, and the cub participates. After a long fight, the lynx is finally killed and eaten by mother and son. Although the cub is hurt by the lynx, he is rather proud of his feat. He is also proud to accompany his mother on the hunt, where he learns the principle of “eat or be eaten,” the basic law of the survival of the fittest.



Notes

The cub’s terrifying experiences do not discourage him. He always bounces back and explores a wider territory without becoming lost. He is capable of assessing his strengths and weaknesses and exercises caution when required. The author refers to him as a little demon of fury when he comes upon a stray ptarmigan. His first experiences with squirrels, woodpeckers and woodmice have taught him to be more aggressive with such creatures.

The cub feels a growing respect for his mother, the she-wolf. Her fearlessness and powerful nature demand obedience from him. When he does not please her, she loses her temper with him. When food again becomes a problem, the cub goes out to hunt for food in earnest. He even foolishly challenges a hawk. Each adventure, however, teaches him something and brings new self-confidence.

On seeing his mother and the lynx fight, the cub intervenes and sinks his teeth into the hind leg of the lynx, helping to save his mother, who is already wounded. Although he too is injured and whimpers, he returns to the fight until the lynx is dead. It is this episode, his first actual fight, that gains him his mother’s confidence; afterwards, he is allowed to accompany his mother on the hunt, where he begins to understand the law of the survival of the fittest. It is obvious that this cub is meant to lead, to fight, and to survive all ordeals.

 

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