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White Fang. The Story of One Wolf


The best thing you can imagine in the form of a homework is a review of the book. Especially when it comes to London and his works.


The biography of Jack London is full of interesting facts and unexpected vertiginous whirls of fortune: before becoming a famous author of novels and stories, London had to go through a difficult journey full of hardships. Everything is interesting in the life of Jack, from strange parents of the writer to numerous travels.

The future writer was born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco, California. Some writers joked that John Griffith Cheney (the real name) became known before birth. The fact is that writer's parents were extravagant personalities who liked to shock the public. His mother Flora Wellman was the daughter of Marshall Wellman, an influential entrepreneur from Ohio.

The girl moved to California to earn by teaching job. But Flora's work was not limited to music lessons, the mother of the future writer was fond of spiritualism and claimed that she was spiritually connected with the Indian chief. And also, Flora suffered from nervous breakdowns and frequent mood swings due to typhus, which the girl had at the age of twenty.

While in San Francisco, the esoteric lover got to know an equally interesting person – William Cheney, an Irishman by birth. Lawyer William understood mathematics and literature, but was famous for being one of the most popular professors of magic and astrology in America. The man led a wandering lifestyle and adored sea voyages, but gave astrology about 16 hours a day.

Eccentric beloved lived in a civil marriage, and after a while Flora became pregnant. Professor Cheney insisted on an abortion, which provoked a terrible scandal about which headlines of local newspapers began to speak: desperate Wellman tried to shoot herself with a rusty old revolver, but the bullet only slightly wounded her. According to another version, Flora staged a suicide attempt because of cooling feelings of her lover.

Nevertheless, journalists of San Francisco profited from this story, the news called "The Abandoned Wife" was bought up in all booths of the city. Yellow press wrote, based on stories of the former girl of William, and defamed esoteric. Journalists talked about Cheney as a child killer, who abandoned many wives, and besides, he served his time in prison in the past. Embarrassed by his infamy, the professor-prophet left the city once and for all in the summer of 1875. In the future, Jack London tried to contact William, but he did not see his father, who did not read a single work of his famous son, and also refused fatherhood.

After the birth of her son, Flora had no time to deal with upbringing of the child since she did not deny herself secular activities, so the newborn boy was placed under the care of a nanny of Negro origin, Jenny Prinster, whom the writer recalled as the second mother.

London was impressed with seafaring; later autobiographical stories became the basis of the collection "Tales of the Fish Patrol" and also writer's adventures influenced plots of many "sea" novels. After traveling on water, London worked as a worker at the factory for the production of a textile fabric made of jute.

In 1894, Jack participates in the campaign of unemployed to Washington, later the young guy was arrested for vagrancy – this moment of life became the key to writing the story "The Star Rover".

At the age of 19, the young man passed exams and entered the University of California, but was forced to leave his studies due to lack of money. After exhausting wanderings through factories and work-earnings, where pennies were paid, London came to the conclusion that he was not ready to lead a "beastly" way of life full of physical labor that was not appreciated.


London began to try to become a writer while still at the jute factory, but then the working day lasted for 13 hours, and he did not have time for stories, the young guy needed at least an hour a day to spend time in fun.

The boy wins the award for the best story in the local newspaper of San Francisco "Call". After this case, London seriously starts to think about writing career. Jack writes a few more stories and sends it to the newspaper that chose him as the winner, but editors refused him.

Then hope again left the young talent, and London went as a handyman to the power plant. Having found about the fact that a colleague committed suicide due to lack of money, Jack again came back to the belief that he was capable of fighting.

In 1897, Jack London was obsessed with the "gold rush" and went in search of precious metal in Alaska. Jack could not get the gold and get rich, besides, he fell ill with scurvy.

Later, all adventures of the future writer will become the basis of his numerous stories and novels. So, after returning from gold mining in 1899, London began serious literary career and writes "Northern stories", in particular, "White Silence". A year later, the writer published the first book "The Son of the Wolf". Jack gave all his strength to writing books: the young author wrote almost the whole day, leaving several hours for rest and sleep.

In 1902, Jack moved to the capital of Great Britain, where he wrote many significant stories and novels.

Jack considered his best work "The Little Lady of the Big House" – a tragic novel, published in 1916. This work differs from adventure books of the writer. The novel was written in the last year of London’s life and reflects inherent mood of the American at that time.

Over the course of his life, London was fond of dogs and especially loved wolves. And this is not surprising, because numerous stories of Jack describe the life of this wild animal. These include "White Fang".

The Same Wolf

In 1906, the work was first published in several issues of "The Outing Magazine". The story tells about the fate of a tamed wolf during the gold rush in Alaska in the late 19th century, so much of the story is shown through the eyes of animals and, in particular, of White Fang.

In this story, London describes different behavior and attitude of people to animals, good and evil. After all, White Fang has withstood much – both beatings and caress.

According to the plot, the father of White Fang was a wolf, and his mother, Kichi, was half wolf, half dog. White Fang was born in the North and only he survived of the brood, hunger killed his brothers and sisters.

Childhood of White Fang was primarily associated with comprehension of the first laws of life, with expansion of borders of his own closed world, with new, previously unknown fears. The part where the wolf cub perceives light at the end of the cave and internal struggle, associated with this phenomenon, is particularly striking.

In every sentence describing experiences of the young wolf, there is an allegory with human life. After all, in fact, this light is nothing but life itself – unpredictable and alluring, bright and blinding, illusory and quite real at the same time. Of course, White Fang decided to go to meet this light, obeying dictates of youth, according to which the voice of growth, dictating laws of disobedience, always drowns out the raspy voice of fear of unknowingness, which inevitably causes suffering. Failure only contributed to the development of the wolf cub. Is it possible to transfer this idea to a person's life? Do failures contribute to our personal growth? The author gives an answer in a small paragraph, a kind of hint on what we should learn from a wolf cub. Namely, his perception of any event in life as an experience.

The feature of this book and all subsequent ones related to animals is the comparison of people with gods. It turns out that Jack London unobtrusively touched upon issues related to religion.

Gods of White Fang correspond to his simple spiritual organization. A human, being a more complex creature, chose more sophisticated gods, belief in which is based more on spirituality than on material laws.

The attitude of White Fang to mockery at his address is also very similar to a human. Not without reason laughter is still considered to be the most powerful weapon in the world of people. Have you ever thought about the fact that in a civilized society, people often express their aggression not with the help of a baton or a dagger, but resorting to a simple wit?

When you read this story, now and then you ask yourself the question: "What distinguishes us, people, from wolves?" After all, in fact, there is revenge in their lives too. It is enough to recall retribution of White Fang in relation to Lip-lip. There is also jealousy in it. Is it not peculiar to people to hurt leaders who run ahead of the team? Alas, it is impossible to avoid painful sense of loneliness in it, remotely resembling desperate howl of White Fang, devoid of care of his own gods. But in fact, a human who has lost his sense of security, faith and hope for the best, really wants to howl and sometimes get angry with the whole world as White Fang did.

One day a choice arose in front of the maturing wolf, as if in front of a human, between free life of a predator and service to a more powerful being, between uncompromisingness and the ability to adjust ... What did his decision show us? That the ability to change is almost decisive for survival. This is the decisive moment when dog blood in White Fang took over wolf one.

But the ability to adjust made him only obey people, but not love them. This is not surprising, because so-called gods did not give White Fang "human relationship". Just remember Beauty Smith. In fact, Jack London uses a very interesting technique in his narrative: he reveals the character of White Fang’s owners through their relationship to the wolf. It is interesting that the author does not blame Beauty Smith, but, on the contrary, in some ways justifies him.

We perceive good and evil through the prism of our sensations, perhaps, guided by genes transmitted to us by our distant ancestors.

Perhaps, as well as in the fate of White Fang, Jack London features the main role in this story to love. The author speaks of this feeling as about an innate need of any living being, as natural as the need for water or food.

Love in the face of his new master Scott made its way into his heart like a soft domestic cat. One can say that this feeling made a failure in the work of the debugged mechanism responsible for the instinct of self-preservation, which was put into the wolf cub by nature itself. Love also freed him from the captivity of all-consuming hatred.

Soon this new feeling for him eclipsed even his frantic desire to live. In the absence of Scott, he refuses to eat and only awaits him.

Love warms Fang from within, revealing for him the language of tenderness and gratitude. He begins to show his feelings – wag his tail, bark and – it is a wonder – touchingly snuggle up his head to his god.

This boundless love, devotion and readiness for self-sacrifice made his master look at him with different eyes and, contrary to common sense, take him to California. Thanks to these same qualities, Scott's relatives fell in love with the "priceless wolf" and brought him back to life with their care and affection.

One wonders whether the relationship between Fang and Collie can be unequivocally called love. Perhaps this is simply one of the most powerful laws of life, requiring the continuation of the genus. But still ... Love for Collie, born of mutual dislike, also deserves our attention. If this character was a human, she could appear, for example, in the image of a woman in whose veins blood of Indians and Americans flows, ancestors of which exterminated a large number of her distant relatives.

However, love won even these fears, accumulated over several generations.


This story once again reminds us that we, like all animals, are children of nature. Although we do have a lot in common, we have already gone far from our ancestors. Is it good or bad? This is the controversial issue. We used to utilize power of our mind, forgetting about feelings, we learned to deceive nature, not recognizing the parent in it, we learned to invent complex words that justify our animal instincts ... But for all that, we can think, and, therefore, analyze our own acts. And we can learn the best, including from animals. What can we learn? Sincerity, unconditional acceptance of life as an experience, and, of course, love.

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