White Fang: Novel Summary: V.4 The Call of Kind

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As much as White Fang continues to adapt to life at Sierra Vista, he never completely loses his quality as an outsider. He does not associate with the dogs, who still regard him warily and with fear. All except Collie, that is, who continues to hound him.
White Fang accompanies Weedon Scott when Scott goes horseback riding. On one such outing, Scott is injured when his steed rears in fright, throwing him to the ground and breaking his leg. Scott sternly orders White Fang to go home which, only reluctantly and once he realizes that it truly is his master's will, White Fang does. Once back at the house, he manages to bark-one of only two times in his life that he does so. Scott's wife is the first to realize that White Fang's bark is related to Weedon's absence. The family is able to go to him and help him, and White Fang's place in the family, already firm, is even further secured. His domestication appears complete when, at the chapter's end, he leaves Scott on a horseback riding trip to follow Collie, who lures him into the woods to mate.
This chapter establishes sleep as a thematic motif. We are told that "the wolf in [White Fang] merely slept," meaning that he is growing increasingly domesticated. The sleep is a welcome contrast to the fierce struggle for life that White Fang has known up to now. "Sleep" functions as a symbol for rest, for peace.
London also uses this penultimate chapter to further detail White Fang's domestication. He marks one shift toward that end by reintroducing language of logic and reason; note, for instance, how White Fang comes to regard Collie with "philosophic tolerance." The allusion to the sophisticated thought of philosophy does not, of course, mean that White Fang has literally become a great thinker; rather, it underscores his increasing progress toward civilization, for philosophy has always been judged one of civilization's great achievements. Laughter emerges as another great achievement of White Fang's in this chapter. The wolf-dog learns to play-which, in the context of the narrative, means to abandon himself to the love he feels toward Weedon Scott. The fact that play is an expression of love is made clear when the narrative informs us that White Fang reserves "romping" for Scott alone. Further, White Fang learns to bark-that is, to communicate. He only does so twice in his life, but those two times are enough and, indeed, the first time saves his master's life (we will learn about the second bark in V.5, the next and final chapter of the novel).
Finally, White Fang becomes a father by mating with Collie. This final evidence of the wolf-dog's "taming" is also, however, one of the bold ways in which the power of life and the power of love are identified in the novel-not that Collie and White Fang (presumably) feel the emotion of


love for each other, but that the act of love between the two animals begets more life to be loved and nurtured. Collie and White Fang's pups will be new "clay," to borrow language from earlier in the novel, and they will have the chance (although the novel does not follow their maturation) to experience care and kindness that White Fang was for so long denied. And the act of love that Collie and White Fang share does, as London's text makes explicit, unite them with the great procession of life that has gone before: "White Fang ran with Collie, as his mother, Kiche, and old One Eye had run."

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