White Fang by Jack London
“He became quicker of movement than the other dogs, swifter of foot, craftier, deadlier, more lithe, more lean with iron like muscle and sinew, more enduring, more cruel more ferocious, and more intelligent. He had to become all these things, else he would not have held his own nor survived the hostile environment in which he found himself.”
White Fang was published in 1906 by Jack London who tells a wonderful story using the view-point of a three-quarters wolf one-quarter dog protagonist. By using the wolf-dog’s point of view London can really dive into the violent world of wild animals, and how they see their sometime equally violent human counterparts. What makes London’s writing so riveting is his constant use of man vs. nature or in the case of White Fang domestic dog characteristics vs. wild wolf personality theme. Each page is a constant battle for White Fang to see which side of his nature will win out. Will it be White Fang’s wolfish characteristics that will make him go permanently wild or will his dog characteristics make him seek out human companionship? White Fang discovers throughout his life that in order to survive he must learn quickly not only the ways of the wild, but also of man’s best friend.
The book follows White Fang throughout four different periods of his life. There is his life in the wild with his mother. The time White Fang is living with an unloving but respectful Native American master named Gray Beaver. A period where Gray Beaver sells White Fang to an ugly spirited man named Beauty Smith where he turns an already vicious cunning White Fang into a real killer. Then the last period of White Fang’s life which finds him under the protection of his first loving master, but by that time White Fang is looking like a hopeless cause. Will White Fang’s final master be able to turn him into companion that can fit into human society or will the wild side win out? Well to find out you will have to read this wonderful novel.
Jack London’s writing style is very descriptive with very little dialogue, which makes since because it is told through White Fang’s viewpoint. While this writing style creates a clear vision of every detail that is going on in the novel some readers may find this boring. I on the other hand enjoyed the way that London went into great detail not only to the details of the North but the wild people and animals that live there. I really liked this book because he reversed the course of his other well loved book The Call of the Wild. In that book, he took a civilized dog and turned it wild and here in his novel, White Fang, London took a wild dog and tries to domesticate it. By reading both books which I recommend, he completes the evolution circle. I give White Fang four shells out of five.