Literature Study GuidesWhite FangPart 4 Chapter 17 Summary

White Fang | Study Guide

Jack London

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White Fang | Part 4, Chapter 17 : The Superior Gods (The Reign of Hate) | Summary



Beauty Smith keeps White Fang locked in a dingy kennel, where he is continually tormented and beaten. Filled with hatred, White Fang lashes out at anything that comes near him: "He hated the chain that bound him, the men who peered in at him through the slats of the pen, the dogs that accompanied the men and that snarled malignantly at him in his helplessness." One day, Beauty Smith opens the pen door and shoves in another dog. The dog "plunges" at White Fang, and when he does, White Fang snaps back, quickly killing him. The men outside erupt in cheers and begin placing bets on the next fight. For months, Beauty Smith makes a fortune off White Fang's fights. No other dog comes close to defeating White Fang, so the men begin betting on other animals, like wolves and lynxes, which White Fang also easily defeats.


Once again, White Fang's surroundings influence his behavior. While he had always been a fierce, fighting dog, Beauty Smith pushes him even further, drawing out the most vicious, violent aspects of his personality. Now that he belongs to a new master, White Fang has been given a new name, "The Fighting Wolf," which further accentuates his changed character. The new name also highlights how different masters alter White Fang's behavior, essentially making him a new animal. Despite the horrific abuse White Fang suffers, he still rises above the other dogs as the "fittest." In many ways, his constant torment at the Indian camp helped prepare him for this new situation. No matter what type of animal White Fang is pitted against, his skills are so superior there's never a question of his success.

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