White Fang: Novel Summary: V.1 The Long Trail

With the turn of the year, the gold-rushers are “as mad to get to the Outside as they had been originally to get to the Inside,” and Weedon Scott is among those planning to leave. He intends, reluctantly, to leave White Fang behind, believing that the wolf-dog will never be able to adapt to life in civilized California. White Fang, however, can sense his masters intentions, and returns to his grief-stricken behavior of refusing to eat. Finally, Scott relents, and takes White Fang home with him.
This chapter reintroduces the theme of intelligence and reason. The chapter yields “indisputable evidence” (to borrow the texts words, from another context) that White Fang is, so to speak, being “re-humanized”-that is, he is recovering from the irrational ferocity to which Beauty Smith had reduced him.advertisementIn this respect, the chapter serves as a reversal of IV.4, for the present chapter makes numerous references to White Fangs capacity to think: for instance, “White Fang had already sensed [Scotts impending departure]. He now reasoned it”; and Matts comment, “Im blamed if I can see how he works it out.” Work it out White Fang does, however, demonstrating that he is, in fact, capable of adapting to civilization (as the subsequent chapters will further illustrate). As Scott gave White Fang a chance in IV.5, so he gives him another chance here by taking him back to California.