Free Study Guide for White Fang by Jack London - Free Book Notes|
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Through patience and kindness, Scott encourages White Fang. Slowly but surely, the wolf-dog again begins to trust a human. He finally eats out of Scott’s hand and allows this kind master to pet him. It is the turning point in White Fang’s life, for he has never before given or received love from a human. In appreciation for the affection that he feels, White Fang become totally devoted to Scott. When Scott goes away for a visit, the wolf-dog almost dies, refusing to eat or drink.
When Scott prepares to return home to California, White Fang senses that something is wrong. He barely leaves his master’s heels. When Scott departs, he locks White Fang into the cabin until after he has set sail. White Fang breaks through the window and boards the steamer. Scott decides to take White Fang along to California, where he becomes the family pet and saves the life of Judge Scott. At the end of the novel, he is seen as the proud father of puppies and the faithful friend to his “god,” Weedon Scott.
Kiche, the brave mother of White Fang and the intelligent leader of the wolf pack, plays a major role in the early part of the novel. Her cunning shows in her ability to lure the male dogs away from Harry and Bill’s team of sled dogs. The two men are amazed at her boldness, for she approaches the fire and does not seem to fear humans. Later in the book, Kiche’s past is explained. She has lived among the Indians and is comfortable around humans. In fact, when given a chance to leave her domesticated life style, she always returns to the Indian camp.
Kiche’s maternal instinct makes her highly protective of White Fang and the other cubs. When they are young, she never lets them venture out of the cave and disciplines them when necessary. She also fights to get them food. She is even prepared to do battle with the female lynx if necessary in order to protect her offspring. When all of White Fang’s siblings die due to the famine, White Fang becomes particularly close to Kiche, looking to her for guidance and protection. It seems she is always there to help him and saves him from the wolverine and the weasel.
When White Fang sees humans for the first time, he is amazed to see his mother approach them. She readily returns to life in the Indian camp, bringing White Fang with her. When she is traded to an Indian for a debt and taken away in a canoe, White Fang tries to swim after her. Gray Beaver, however, comes and retrieves the cub, who is almost grown. Later in the book, White Fang sees Kiche again, but she does not acknowledge him. She has had another litter, and White Fang is a threat to the security of her new cubs. White Fang is puzzled by Kiche’s distant behavior, but accepts it. He will always respect Kiche as his mother and teacher.
Gray Beaver is the Indian master of White Fang. He does not demonstrate love for the wolf-dog, but is fair to him. Although he “tames” the wild creature through beatings, once the cub leans obedience, Gray Beaver is satisfied and often defends White Fang and gives him extra meat because he is proud of the cub’s strength. As a result, White Fang respects and obeys Gray Beaver, believing him to be his “god”.
Gray Beaver is not a cruel man; he simply belongs to a way of life in which violence is a means for survival. He believes he must clearly establish his authority and superiority over White Fang. If the wolf is to be useful as a sled dog, he must know how to follow commands without hesitation or questioning.
Unfortunately, Gray Beaver is easily tricked. When Beauty Smith sees how well White Fang fights, he wants the wolf for his own. To accomplish his goal, he begins to feed alcohol to Gray Beaver. Before long, the Indian becomes addicted to drinking. He spends all the money he has made from trading fur in the Yukon and then sells White Fang to Beauty for some bottles of whiskey. White Fang hates Beauty, for he is a merciless and violent master. He repeatedly tries to return to Gray Beaver, but the Indian, who is very honorable, always returns White Fang to his new owner.
In spite of his weaknesses, Gray Beaver, for the most part, is a faithful master to White Fang. He is also partially responsible for developing the wolf-dog’s strength, intelligence, and independence.
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. 09 May 2017