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

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Although Scott repeatedly tries to gain White Fang’s confidence by speaking kind words and patting him gently, White Fang remains wary of him. Gradually, White Fang begins to accept Scott’s spoken affection, but he still refuses to be touched or fed by the man. To build trust, Scott throws the pieces of meat, one by one, each landing closer. Cautiously, White Fang retrieves each piece until he is willing to eat from Scott’s hand. Matt is highly surprised at the sight of Scott petting the wolf-dog, whose usual response is to snarl and leap backwards. As Scott continues to pet him, White Fang begins to enjoy the affection. He begins to protect Scott, guarding his property and leaping on any nighttime visitors. Soon White Fang learns to distinguish between footsteps so that he can tell the difference between thieves and honest men.

White Fang easily proves his superiority to Scott’s other dogs, who accept his leadership. He willingly returns to the dog team and becomes the leader of the Klondike sled runners, where he works in single file, on double traces.

In late spring, Scott is called away, and White Fang refuses to eat, drink, or sleep. He becomes weak and lets the other dogs harass him. Matt writes Scott a letter informing him of White Fang’s condition. As a result, Scott returns, and White Fang regains his health.

One night as Matt and Scott are busy playing cribbage, White Fang nabs Beauty Smith in the dark. Apparently, the despicable man has come to steal White Fang, for he has a club and a steel chain with him.


This chapter brings the climax of the story as White Fang undergoes a major transformation. It takes time and much effort on the part of Scott to gain the dog’s trust, but his patience finally pays off. At last, White Fang is no longer afraid of being punished or hit. One day Matt walks in to find White Fang allowing Scott to pet him, proving that the wolf-dog has responded to human affection and has become gentle.

White Fang has never before known affection, which Scott gives freely. In return, White Fang is absolutely devoted to the man, his new god. He willingly sacrifices comfort for pain in order to gain the approval of his master. In the early morning, instead of roaming in the wild, he waits patiently at the cabin for the sight of Scott; he also is willing to forego meat in order to be with his master. When Scott goes away for awhile, White Fang refuses to eat or drink until his master returns. It is through these small gestures that White Fang tries to express his love.

One night Beauty Smith comes back to steal White Fang, with club and chain in hand. All of the wolf-dog’s hatred surfaces at the sight of this cruel man, who he mauls badly. Scott must intervene and drag White Fang away before Beauty is killed. Amazingly, the wolf-dog calms down at the slightest word from Scott, showing the true respect and undying love he has for his master.


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