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White Fang: Novel Summary: II.5 The Law of Meat

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Summary
White Fang makes more forays out of the lair, growing stronger and more confident of himself, and making more kills. When a particularly desperate famine strikes, the she-wolf, unbeknownst to White Fang, goes to the lair of the lynx and kills one of the lynx's kittens. The mother lynx arrives at the wolves' lair, and a battle ensues. White Fang tries to fight alongside his mother and does, in fact, help her by clinging onto one of the lynx's legs; the burden he thus adds to the mother lynx helps his own mother to prevail. The she-wolf, however, is sorely wounded in the fight, and slowly dies as well. Yet, through her death, White Fang comes to understand, however dimly, "the law of meat," which is this law of survival: "EAT OR BE EATEN."
Analysis
This chapter introduces the theme of power. White Fang sees that his mother is less afraid of animals and things in the outside world than he is, and he attributes this, not to her greater experience of living, but to her inherent power: "His mother represented power." He respects his mother because of this innate power she seems to possess. White Fang will fear, respect, and love other, albeit human, characters in the rest of the book, and those

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relationships will depend, too, upon his perception of their power and how they use (or abuse) it.
The death of White Fang's mother teaches the cub another key lesson: "There were two kinds of life-his own kind and the other kind." Once more, readers can ponder how this lesson works itself out in the world of humanity, not only in the world of the Wild. London is using his animal characters to show his human readers how the Wild and the "civilized" are much alike.




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