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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 V

Chapter 5

Summary

This last chapter tells of an escaped convict, Jim Hall. He was long ago sentenced to fifty years in prison by Judge Scott. Innocent of the crime, Hall resents the judge who put him away and seeks revenge. Three years of life in a prison cell have made him morose, indignant, violent, and bitter. He escapes from jail by killing the guards with his own bare hands. When the news of Hall's escape reaches Sierra Vista, the family becomes very anxious. For protection, Alice, Judge Scott's wife, lets White Fang into the house every night when the family goes to sleep, even though the judge does not allow the dog inside.

Early one morning, White Fang hears strange footsteps inside the house. Suspicious of the stranger that he finds, he attacks silently and furiously. When the family wakes up, they find Jim Hall lying dead in their home. White Fang, too, is severely wounded, with one broken hind-leg, three broken ribs, a great loss of blood, and three bullet holes. The family spares no expense to save his life, and their attempts are rewarded. White Fang is then dubbed "the Blessed Wolf" by Alice Scott. He also becomes the proud father of puppies, which Collie jealously guards.



Notes

This chapter introduces Jim Hall, a convict who is shown to be similar in many ways to White Fang. Both man and wolf have been exposed to aggression in childhood, which causes them both to become violent. The worse each behaves, the worse each is treated by society. Like White Fang, Hall has taken many beatings and has suffered a great deal; he has also been unfairly locked up, like White Fang. In San Quentin Prison, Hall becomes incorrigible, almost animal-like in his behavior. In order to escape and avenge his erroneous imprisonment, he kills two guards with his bare hands, just as White Fang has killed with his bare teeth. The police have put out a reward for Jim Hall, and many greedy farmers go out of their way to hunt him down, as if he were an animal. Just as White Fang killed all the dogs who hindered him in his progress, so does Jim Hall kill all the people who get in his way. Just as White Fang tries to kill Beauty Smith to avenge the wrongs inflicted on him, Jim Hall seeks to kill Judge Scott. White Fang, however, stands in the way of Jim Hall's goal. When he finds the stranger in the Scott household, he attacks and kills, risking his own life in the process.

White Fang's injuries inflicted by Jim Hall leave him with a thousand to one chance of survival. The Scott family, however, owes the wolf-dog a great debt and does everything possible to save him. The novel ends on an optimistic note with White Fang surviving his injuries and becoming a father.

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