- Published: 1906
- Publisher: Macmillan
- Genre: Adventure
- Format: Audio Book
- Quote: “The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept.” —Source
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A wild dog’s journey toward becoming civilized during the 19th Century Klondike Gold Rush. White Fang is a companion novel to The Call of the Wild.
“White Fang” is part dog, part wolf and all brute, living in the frozen north; he gradually comes under the spell of man’s companionship, and surrenders all at the last in a fight with a bull dog. —Source
Review of the Characters:
White Fang— His early history was interesting. I enjoyed seeing him in his natural habitat with his mother, especially during the fight scene with the cougar. London does an excellent job of giving these wild animals a voice that resonates with humans. Even though there is no dialogue between White Fang and his mother, their actions towards each other have a deep impact.
“He was a silent fury who no torment could tame.” —Source
However I did have trouble believing this character when he joined the Indians. I do understand his aggression up to a point but just as in The Call of the Wild we see this unconquerable dog, friend to no one until a white, male, American saves him. Seeing White Fang adjust to a civilized life so easily is not only unbelievable but takes away from the momentum of the story. White Fang was just a wolf version of Buck, except they went on opposite paths. There was no surprising element or any anticipation because we’ve seen the same story before.
Review of the Story:
I’m an animal freak so I found it really fascinating in the beginning of the story, seeing the wolves survive in the wild. The prologue is intense and is my favorite part of the story. In the prologue we see the a pack of wild wolves from a human perspective, a human who is caught in their midst.
“Much of the Wild had been lost, so that to them the Wild was the unknown, the terrible, the ever menacing and ever warring. But to him, in appearance and action and impulse, still clung the Wild.” —Source
However after the first few chapters, the story fizzles out. The story is so blatantly like The Call of the Wild that it was often more boring than exciting. Jack London seemed to think that taking Buck’s story and telling it backwards was a different story, but it wasn’t. Maybe I’m biased because I had just read The Call of the Wild but London is a great writer, and there was a million ways to tell a story about a wolf in the wild without an American hero being involved. I didn’t enjoy reading the same story twice, under a different title.
Review of the Writing:
This is what makes White Fang the classic that it is, London’s writing captures the essence of wild and freedom. He paints a bright picture of the Canadian wilderness but also pens the feeling of running free through a wolf’s eyes.
“He had come to know quite thoroughly the world in which he lived. His outlook was bleak and materialistic. The world as he saw it was a fierce and brutal world, a world without warmth, a world in which caresses and affection and the bright sweetness of spirit did not exist.” —Source
His ability to connect us to these animals is one not to be underestimated as it is one that few can master. I have no doubt that London’s writing will continue to live on through the years.
After reading The Call of the Wild I had high hopes for White Fang but sadly London’s second novel fell short. It is much to reminiscent of its predecessor with no excitement or anticipation to save it. Even though London captivates with his writing it is not one I will read again.
P.S.– My next audio book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald