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White Fang: Novel Summary: IV.6 The Love-Master

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Total Votes: 410

Summary
Weedon Scott begins the long process of bonding with White Fang and winning his trust. Indeed, White Fang gradually grows to love Scott. He never, however, outgrows his growl, even though a note of affection and contentment is now in it that was not present before. He grows to love Scott so much, in fact, that when Scott leaves on a trip, White Fang becomes physically ill-languishing, refusing to eat-and does not recover until Scott returns.
One night after Scott's return, Beauty Smith stealthily approaches, attempting to steal White Fang back. White Fang viciously attacks Smith, who runs away in terror.
Analysis
This chapter expands on suggestions earlier in the book (e.g., III.5) that love is a necessary part of life: White Fang becomes "aware of a certain satisfaction, as though some need were being gratified, as though some void in his being were being filled." In fact, White Fang's first experience of love marks "the beginning of the end for White Fang-the ending of the old life and the reign of hate." To use religious language that London does not employ (but that is nevertheless consonant with the religious imagery London has used), White Fang is being "born again." He is becoming, in the biblical phrase, a "new creation" thanks to Scott's love. London shows that love is the necessary element for rising above "mere flesh-love of life" (IV.4). Interestingly, though, this new creation is

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not entirely discontinuous from the old. For example, notice that White Fang still growls, even though his growl now has a new undertone of love. The old has been, not obliterated, but transformed, perhaps one might say even exalted. In yielding himself to Scott-"as though he said: 'I put myself into thy hands'"-White Fang is "in the process of finding himself" (recalling, whether intended by London or not, the words of Jesus in Mark 8:35, "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it").




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