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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 III


CHAPTER 1


Summary

This chapter deals with the cub’s first encounter with humans. The cub runs down to the stream to drink, and there he notices five creatures he has never seen before. His first instinct is that of fear, yet he does not run away. One of the men approaches the cub and reaches down to seize him, but the cub bites him, for which he receives a blow to his head, causing the cub to cry. When he receives another blow, the she-wolf comes running. One of the Indians calls the she-wolf “Kiche,” and she submits immediately, much to the cub’s dismay. Kiche is the offspring of a wolf father and a dog mother, who was owned by Gray Beaver’s brother. Kiche ran away from the Indians during the famine a year ago, and since then, she has been with the wolves.

Salmon Tongue, Three Eagles, and Gray Beaver decide to take White Fang and Kiche to their camp. Meanwhile, the rest of their clan arrives with their dogs, who do not accept White Fang. Kiche is kept tied, but White Fang is allowed to roam. As he explores the place, he comes across Lip-lip, another puppy, who becomes an instant and constant enemy. When the two pups fight, White Fang is injured and retreats to Kiche, who licks his wounds. When he goes back to exploring, he approaches Gray Beaver, who is making a fire. White Fang burns his nose and tongue when he goes to smell the flames. He yelps pathetically, which causes laughter in the camp. White Fang is ashamed and goes back to his mother’s side.



Notes

This chapter shows a turning point in the cub’s life, for he and his mother are captured by humans and brought to live among them. The Indians have recognized the she-wolf as Kiche, a half wolf/dog that has lived with them before running away.

White Fang’s initial reaction to seeing the humans by the river is fear. When he attempts to defend himself from the Indians, he is rewarded by blows. He can do nothing but yelp in pain. On seeing his mother arrive, he is overjoyed, for he believes she will deal cruelly with these creatures. He is shocked to find her submitting to them instead of avenging his hurt. Her submissiveness only serves to reinforce his fear of and respect for human. White Fang, however, finds it pleasant when Salmon Tongue rubs his hand back and forth over his fur.

When White Fang is taken to the Indian camp, he meets his nemesis, who will be his enemy for life. The problem is a pup named Lip-lip, who constantly fights with White Fang; in fact, Lip-lip is largely responsible for turning White Fang into a great and aggressive fighter. After his first fight with Lip-lip, White Fang runs to his mother crying, which shows he still has much to learn. As long as he remains at Kiche’s side, he will not fully mature.

Since he is a cub, White Fang is allowed to roam the Indian camp and to explore things. Finally overcoming his fear of the big teepees, he tugs at the canvas playfully. Out of curiosity, he ventures too close to the fire and burns his nose and tongue. When the Indians laugh at him, he feels ashamed. From this point on, White Fang is wary of man’s laughter.

Although White Fang tries to adjust to his new life in the Indian camp, he finds it difficult to adapt to this crowded community and misses the valley and the stream.

 

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