Literature Study GuidesWhite FangPart 3 Chapter 12 Summary

White Fang | Study Guide

Jack London

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White Fang | Part 3, Chapter 12 : The Gods of the Wild (The Trail of the Gods) | Summary



Busyness takes over the camp as the tribe prepares to move. Rather than coming when Gray Beaver calls, White Fang resists, planning to escape back to the wild. As time passes, however, and White Fang is overcome with loneliness. Without people, fire, and tepees, White Fang also feels cold, hunger, and fear: "His bondage had softened him. Irresponsibility had weakened him. He had forgotten how to shift for himself." White Fang bounds through the woods searching for the tribe, desperate to rejoin them. He knows a beating will come, but he would welcome it in exchange for the security of the camp. Alone and afraid, White Fang releases his first forlorn howl at the moon. Running throughout the night, bedraggled and hungry, White Fang finally relocates the camp after two days without rest. He trembles at Gray Beaver's feet, awaiting the blows, but Gray Beaver welcomes him with open arms, giving him a feast of food and pushing the other dogs away.


White Fang feels a strong pull between the natural world into which he was born and the domesticated world he has been trained to appreciate. His time spent in the Indian camp was filled with longing for the wild he left behind, yet when he takes the opportunity to return to it, he finds that he no longer belongs there. His behavior has been so strongly molded by his master that his natural instincts feel dulled. He is filled with fear, and even though the other dogs had ostracized him, he misses the safety and security of camp life. In the question of nature versus nurture, London believes the behavior of a person or an animal is molded by their environment (nurture). Although White Fang will always have his natural instincts, his behavior has been shaped by Gray Beaver's training and everyday camp life.

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