White Fang: Novel Summary: IV.5 The Indomitable

Although Matt is able to recognize that White Fang has been domesticated previously, Weedon Scott is dubious that he will be able to tame the dog. When Scott attempts to throw a piece of meat to White Fang, the meat is intercepted by another of Scotts sled-dogs. That dog pays for it with his life as White Fang swiftly kills him. He also bites Matts leg when Matt kicks him in rebuke. Scott thinks he should do White Fang a favor and put the beast out its misery by killing him, but Matt argues that it was the dogs own fault, and his, for interfering with this wild creatures feeding: “I wouldnt give two whoops in hell for a dog that wouldnt fight for his own meat.” Scott gives White Fang a chance, and begins to pet him. White Fang fights the instinct to bite Scotts hand for as long as he can, but, at length, he must yield to it. This time, Matt moves to kill White Fang, but Scott intercedes. They notice that White Fang seems to understand the threat of the rifle and decide that he is too intelligent a beast to kill. They agree to give White Fang another chance.
This brief chapter suggests that White Fangs intelligence has not deserted him entirely. Freedadvertisementfrom the tyranny of Beauty Smith, the dog is able to again demonstrate his intelligence as he shows his reaction to the rifle. His ferocious defense of his meat and his delayed biting of Scotts hand emerge as understandable, inevitable consequences of the harsh treatment he has received at humans hands for so long. Scott states what the narrator has previously stated: “Poor devil. What he needs is some show of human kindness.” This chapter, then, serves as an important turning point in the narratives plot. From this point on, White Fang will receive those displays of kindness, and will change as a result.