White Fang, Jack London, 9/10

White Fang is indisputably one of the most famous dog stories ever written. The story is told from the perspective of an arctic wolf, revealing the thoughts of animals and their interactions with mankind. The plot when viewed alone may seem trite or commonplace, but the uniqueness of this story is found in the narrative view of a wolf, White Fang.

The story consists of a wolf cub learning the ways of life in the Yukon and developing a knowledge of what can help or hurt him. The cub develops into a wolf in the hands of human masters who teach him lessons of survival. White Fang is abused by his owners and becomes more ferocious than a wolf naturally is. These experiences help White Fang become a more adapted creature than any other living thing in the Yukon. But, as the story progresses, White Fang comes into the possession of a new benevolent master who nurtures more tender feelings in White Fang than he had ever felt before.

White Fang would be a very boring story if it was told from a human’s perspective. However, instead of describing what White Fang does, Jack London described White Fang’s reactions to his surroundings. The story also contains many small details that helped me visualize life in the harsh environment of the far north. Jack London described ‘laws’ of nature that are recurring themes throughout the book. Examples of these laws include basic rules of survival such as eat or be eaten; or complex feelings such as trust and affection. These laws bind the story together and helped me fully understand White Fang’s thoughts and reactions. I understood why White Fang’s survivalist instincts and past experiences caused him to act the ways he did. Jack London did not make White Fang seem too human, but told the story in a way that illustrates basic animal instincts.

This is a book that is best read by audiences mature enough to understand that the story is about more than just a dog’s life, but also how a savage wolf learns the meanings of love and companionship. Older readers are also able to appreciate the historical and geographical setting of White Fang. At first, the story may seem ordinary, but as the book progresses, you will be able to appreciate the unique viewpoint and universal themes that make this book a very enjoyable read.

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