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White Fang: Novel Summary: V.2 The Southland

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Summary
San Francisco impresses itself upon White Fang as the ultimate expression of man's power that he has yet experienced. Scott disembarks with White Fang and takes the wolf-dog home to the house (which we will learn in the next chapter is called Sierra Vista) of Scott's father, a distinguished judge. There, White Fang must learn to distinguish Scott's family's loving embraces from hostile attacks on his master, and where he must learn to relate not only to Scott's family and servants, but also to Scott's other dogs. Most prominent among these other dogs is Collie, a female sheepdog, whose instinctual fear of wolves and the Wild leads her to give White Fang a hostile reception-a hostility to which White Fang, based on his instincts against attacking females, does not respond in kind.
Analysis
Even so late in the novel, White Fang is still learning-and therefore still growing and still living. London implicitly mirrors White Fang's acclamation to San Francisco to his earlier acclamation to the Indian camp: in both instances, White Fang had to learn to balance his instincts with the law of his "gods." For example, in dealing with Collie, White Fang must obey his primal instinct to avoid attacking females (readers cannot help

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but be reminded of White Fang's encounter with Kiche in III.6), but he must also repress his instinct to defend Scott when Scott's family embraces him. London also shows how different animals' instincts can come into conflict, by discussing Collie's instinctual fear of wolves: "being a sheepdog, her instinctive fear of the Wild, and especially of the wolf, was unusually keen." London thus establishes Collie as being in a similar situation as is White Fang: both animals are facing the need to learn and adapt. London may be implying that this task is a necessary ingredient in life.




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