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White Fang
Author - Jack London

Excerpt: The other Indians laughed loudly, and urged the man on to pick up the cub. As the hand descended closer and closer, there raged within the cub a battle of the instincts. He experienced two great impulsions, - to yield and to fight. The resulting action was a compromise. He did both. He yielded till the hand almost touched him. Then he fought, his teeth flashing in a snap that sank them into the hand. The next moment he received a clout alongside the head that knocked him over on his side. Then all the fight fled out of him. His puppyhood and the instinct of submission took charge of him. He sat up on his haunches and ki-yi’d.

White Fang was written almost one hundred years ago. But the story of the fierce wolf-dog is exciting to read even today. Jack London, its American author, is one of the best writers of naturalistic adventure of the last century. His famous books describe the struggle of man and beast against nature, and show how strongly our environment can shape our character.
White Fang, part dog and part wolf, is born in the bleak Alaskan wild. He learns very early that he has to be cunning, tough and strong if he wants to live. He enjoys his freedom in the wild until the Indians find him and his mother and take them into their camp. Here the little cub learns to respect and obey his masters because they are stronger and more intelligent. The other dogs torment him because he is a creature of the wild, but White Fang hates to be beaten. He grows into a strong, vicious sledge dog who hates his own kind.
Sold to a heartless man who turns him into a ‘Fighting Wolf’, White Fang becomes even more vicious. His heart knows only hatred for all things. A young mining engineer, Weedon Scott, rescues him from near-death during a fierce dog-fight. He offers the beast his kindness and friendship, and very slowly, White Fang learns to trust him, and to love him. He learns to adapt to the very different conditions in Scott’s home in California and becomes a precious member of his family.
The author narrates the story from the point of view of the dog-wolf, and this gives us a deeper understanding of White Fang. London’s own experiences in the Yukon during the Gold Rush of 1897 come through vividly. We must read about the lives of men and animals in those inhospitable regions in the days before snow- mobiles or helicopters, to believe it. The unabridged version of White Fang is highly recommended for readers of twelve years and above. Younger readers could enjoy the abridged and illustrated versions.
White Fang will surely leave you wishing for more such adventure, so do try Jack London’s other famous books like ‘The Call of the Wild’ and ‘The Sea-Wolf’ too.

Pages: 252
Published by: Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Classics)
Price: Rs 92/-
ISBN: 0-439-23619-3
Format: Paperback

Review - Revathi Sachidanandam

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