Literature Study GuidesWhite FangPart 5 Chapter 25 Summary

White Fang | Study Guide

Jack London

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Course Hero. "White Fang Study Guide." May 11, 2017. Accessed October 22, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/White-Fang/.

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Course Hero, "White Fang Study Guide," May 11, 2017, accessed October 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/White-Fang/.

White Fang | Part 5, Chapter 25 : The Tame (The Sleeping Wolf) | Summary

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Summary

Shortly after, Weedon's father, Judge Scott, receives word that one of the dangerous criminals he sentenced, Jim Hall, had escaped from solitary confinement. Although nasty and violent, Jim Hall was actually innocent of the crimes Judge Scott convicted him of, the victim of a complex police conspiracy to keep him behind bars. Hall blames Judge Scott for the incarceration and seeks revenge. One evening, White Fang, who is sleeping in the hallway of the main house, hears a strange noise. As usual, he gives no notice of his attack: "He gave no warning, with no snarl anticipated his own action." Hearing the crash, the house scrambles awake, with Judge Scott firing three bullets into the melee. The shots kill Jim Hall and seriously wound White Fang. Weedon calls in the best veterinarian, who declares "one chance in a thousand is really optimistic" for White Fang's recovery. Through Weedon's love and attention, and White Fang's spirit of survival, White Fang recovers. When his bandages are removed, White Fang stumbles into the springtime sun, much to the family's delight. They cheer him on as he staggers toward the barn, where he collapses near Collie and their litter of cubs. The novel ends with the image of White Fang "drowsing in the sun," surrounded by love.

Analysis

London returns to the theme of nature versus nurture to explain Jim Hall's violent behavior. Like White Fang, Hall was abused in the prison system, and rather than reform him, the punishments made him fiercer than before: "The more fiercely he fought, the more harshly society handled him, and the only effect of harshness was to make him fiercer." Hall, unlike White Fang, is not given a chance at redemption, perhaps because Hall, like Beauty Smith, was "ill-made" from the start, and the prison environment turned him into a "beast." Comparisons between Hall and White Fang after a dogfight are strong. The reader may remember Weedon considering shooting White Fang until he realizes the wolf is "too intelligent to kill," suggesting that Hall wasn't smart enough to adapt to his new environment to survive.

The novel closes with an image of White Fang in blissful happiness, surrounded by love. He has survived multiple environments and proved his strength over and over to pass on his superior genes to the next generation. The scene of White Fang and Collie directly mirrors the scene of One Eye seeing his cubs for the first time. Whereas One Eye turned away from the cubs, encouraging their natural relationship to the wild, White Fang lies down and snuggles his cubs, ensuring the reader of White Fang's full domesticity and showing that these cubs will be raised outside the hardships of the wild, surrounded by love.

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