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Free Study Guide-White Fang by Jack London-Free Online Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

PART IV

Chapter 1

Summary

White Fang is now the leader of the team, positioned at the longest end of the rope. He is not allowed to stop without orders. If he does so, the other dogs are permitted to attack him. The other dogs are jealous of his position and rage against White Fang, even when they are free; as expected, Mit-sah predictably bestows meat on White Fang in front of the others, making matters worse. The other dogs always band together because they fear that White Fang will attack them if they are alone. The wolf hates the other dogs equally.

When White Fang is nearly five years old, Gray Beaver takes him on another journey along the Mackenzie, across the Rockies, and down the Porcupine to the Yukon. White Fang attacks the dogs in these places, too. His advantage as an attacker lies in the fact that he can judge time and distance correctly. White Fang's sled crosses the water-shed between the Mackenzie River and the Yukon in the late winter, and the spring is spent hunting in the Rockies. He later paddles down the stream to its junction with the Yukon under the Arctic Circle. Here stands the Old Hudson's Bay Company Fort. It is the summer of 1898, and the gold seekers are going up the Yukon to Dawson and Klondike. Gray Beaver profits tremendously through his trade of fur, gut-sewn mittens, and moccasins.



At Fort Yukon, White Fang encounters his first white man. He is suspicious of their dogs, and fights them regularly. He realizes, however, that when he kills the dogs, the gods get angry at this. He cleverly launches a fatal attack on a dog and leaves it behind for the dogs to rip him apart. Upon seeing this, one man fires six shots and kills six dogs in the 'pack.' White Fang walks freely away.

Notes

When White Fang is made the leader of the team, the dogs hate him more than ever. They resent that he is a creature from the wild and are jealous over the extra meat he receives. Worst of all, White Fang cannot stand running before the pack of yelling dogs, whom he has taken three years to dominate. He quickly learns, however, that he cannot stop unless ordered to do so, for the others dogs in the team will have enough slack to attack him.

White Fang survives adverse circumstances effortlessly. His superiority over the other dogs is unquestionable. He is always a step ahead of the rest of them. His cunning is likewise undisputed, as he slashes a dog's throat but lets the other dogs mangle it. While six dogs are killed for the attack, the guilty White Fang escapes punishment.

A mention is made here of the gold rush, which contributes to the book's historical setting. Thousands of gold hunters are bustling in the Klondike while searching for gold; Gray Beaver trades his furs with them for an enormous profit. The men in the gold rush are the first white men that White Fang has ever seen. It is interesting that he automatically assumes that the white gods are more powerful than the Indians. At first, White Fang is suspicious of them at first and never lets them touch him; later he decides they are harmless, but he still hates and fights their dogs.

The author comments in this chapter that White Fang's nature could not have been what it is had it not been for Lip-lip's aggression towards him. Additionally, Gray Beaver's cruel treatment of him has played a major role. The constant beatings have made him hard and cruel, capable of handling any situation.

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