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The wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept.
~ The Narrator about White Fang.

White Fang is the titular main protagonist of Jack London's 1906 novel of the same name. He is a wolfdog who was born wild, but becomes more dog-like after Gray Beaver domesticates him. While he was cared for by his mother, White Fang grows up fierce and unloved after being separated from her; he was constantly bullied by other dogs, like Lip-lip, and becomes a fighting dog after Beauty Smith buys him. He eventually becomes more loving and friendly after he is bought and tamed by Weedon Scott. He saves Judge Scott's life by killing Jim Hall and eventually has six pups with Collie.

History

The she-wolf gives birth to a litter of five cubs by the Mackenzie River, and all but one die from hunger. One Eye is killed by a lynx while trying to rob her den for food for the she-wolf and her cub; his mate later discovers his remains near the lynx's den. The surviving cub and the she-wolf are left to fend for themselves. Shortly afterward, the she-wolf kills all the lynx's kittens to feed her cub, prompting the lynx to track her down, and a vicious fight breaks out. The she-wolf eventually kills the lynx but suffers severe injury; the lynx carcass is devoured over a period of seven days as the she-wolf recovers from her injuries.

The cub comes across five Native Americans one day, and the she-wolf comes to his rescue. One man, Grey Beaver, recognizes the she-wolf as Kiche, his brother's wolfdog, who left during a famine. Grey Beaver's brother is dead and so he takes Kiche and her cub and christens the cub White Fang. White Fang has a harsh life in the Indian camp; the current puppy pack, seeing him as a wolf, immediately attacks him. The Indians save him, but the pups never accept him, and the leader, Lip-lip, singles him out for persecution. White Fang grows to become a savage, callous, morose, solitary, and deadly fighter, "the enemy of his kind".

It is at this time that White Fang is separated from his mother who is sold off to another Indian Camp. He realizes how hard life in the wild is when he runs away from camp and earns the respect of Gray Beaver when he saves his son Mit-sah from a group of boys seeking revenge. When a famine occurs, he runs away into the woods and encounters his mother Kiche, only for her to chase him away for she has a new litter of cubs. He also encounters Lip-lip whom he fights and kills before returning to the camp.

5 years later, he is taken to Fort Yukon so that Grey Beaver can trade with the gold-hunters. There, when Grey Beaver is drunk, White Fang is bought by an evil dog-fighter named Beauty Smith. White Fang defeats all opponents pitted against him, including several wolves and a lynx, until a bulldog called Cherokee is brought in to fight him. Cherokee has the upper hand in the fight when he grips the skin and fur of White Fang's neck and begins to throttle him. White Fang nearly suffocates, but is rescued when a rich, young gold hunter, Weedon Scott, stops the fight and forcefully buys White Fang from Beauty Smith.

Weedon Scott attempts to tame White Fang, and after a long, patient effort, he succeeds. When Scott attempts to return to California alone, White Fang pursues him, and Scott decides to take the dog with him back home. In Sierra Vista, White Fang must adjust to the laws of the estate. At the end of the book, an escaped convict named Jim Hall tries to kill Scott's father, Judge Scott, for sentencing him to prison for a crime he didn't commit, not knowing that Hall was "railroaded". White Fang kills Hall and is nearly killed himself but survives. He begins having nightmares, but eventually wakes up and is cured. As a result of his heroic act, the women of Scott's estate name him "The Blessed Wolf". The story ends with White Fang relaxing in the sun with the puppies he has fathered with the sheep-dog Collie.

Trivia

  • His grandfather was a wolf and his grandmother was a dog.
  • In the 1936 film, he had a father named Buck, who was the main protagonist of London's other book The Call of the Wild.
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