Literature Study GuidesWhite FangPart 4 Chapter 15 Summary

White Fang | Study Guide

Jack London

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White Fang | Part 4, Chapter 15 : The Superior Gods (The Enemy of His Kind) | Summary

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Summary

Whatever hope White Fang might have had of befriending his pack disappears when Mit-sah promotes him to head sled dog. As lead dog, White Fang is given more meat and attention, which the other dogs envy. This jealousy propels the team forward, and the rest of the dogs chase the leader they hope to destroy. White Fang quickly learns never to stop running while the sled is moving or the entire pack will leap upon him. Mit-sah protects White Fang during the sled runs, but White Fang must defend himself in the camp. His fighting skills improve as he becomes even quicker and fiercer than before.

Years pass, and Gray Beaver decides to take White Fang with him on his journey to the Yukon during the Gold Rush. Gray Beaver makes a fortune selling Indian wares to the prospectors, and the new scenery gives White Fang an opportunity to hone new skills. White Fang entertains himself by stalking and attacking the prospectors' dogs. He seeks them out and instigates fights, which he always wins by killing the other dog then scampering away. He becomes even colder and more vicious than before: "The clay of White Fang had been molded until he became what he was, morose and lonely, unloving and ferocious, the enemy of all his kind."

Analysis

Once again returning to a position of torment as the lead dog of the sled team, White Fang uses his circumstances to his advantage. He cannot command the respect of his team, so he uses their abuse to hone his fighting and killing skills. His body becomes stronger than ever before. Instead of hiding near the humans for protection after a day's work, White Fang walks boldly around camp, daring the other dogs to attack him only to immediately overpower them: "The very atmosphere he breathed was surcharged with hatred and malice." Long gone is the lonely dog that returned to camp after being too afraid to hunt for his own food. After years of abuse, White Fang's environment has molded him into a lean, mean killing machine. He continues this role even in the Yukon, attacking other dogs for sport and killing them just because he can. White Fang has been transformed from a bullied cub to the biggest bully of them all.

While in the Yukon, White Fang sees a white man for the first time. Interestingly, he refers to white men as "superior gods." On the surface, this statement suggests a "dog's thinking," in which white men are superior because Indians desire to trade with them. They also have more money and possessions, which seems to matter to White Fang. Under the surface, however, this statement reveals London's own latent racism. London is remembered for writing cute stories about dogs; history seems to have forgotten his violent views on race and socialism, hints of which can be seen in all of his novels, including White Fang.

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