White Fang

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Kiche, the she-wolf Character Analysis

White Fang's mother. Half wolf, half dog, Kiche is also the red she-wolf, who lures members of Bill and Henry's sled dog team into the forest. Raised by Indians, Kiche escapes to the wild, where she mates with One Eye and gives birth to White Fang. A fierce fighter and hunter, she teaches White Fang how to survive in the Northland.

Kiche, the she-wolf Quotes in White Fang

The White Fang quotes below are all either spoken by Kiche, the she-wolf or refer to Kiche, the she-wolf. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dover Publications edition of White Fang published in 1991.
Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

[The she-wolf] looked at [Bill and Henry] in a strangely wistful way, after the manner of a dog; but in its wistfulness there was none of the dog affection.

Related Characters: Bill, Henry, Kiche, the she-wolf
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we're introduced to the "she-wolf" (later Kiche), the wolf that has been menacing Bill and Henry's cargo and leading some of the sled dogs off into the wilderness. Bill and Henry can tell immediately that the she-wolf is dog-like, but is certainly not a dog: although it shares some of its DNA with dogs, it hasn't been domesticated at all--it's a completely wild, instinctual animal.

The passage poses an important contrast between domesticated and wild animals. White Fang, who's partly dog and partly wolf, is both. The she-wolf, then, is a symbol of the divide between nature and civilization--she's so close to being a "civilized" dog," and yet so far away.

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Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

In [the she-wolf's] instinct, which was the experience of all the mothers of wolves, there lurked a memory of fathers that had eaten their newborn progeny. It manifested itself as a fear strong within her, that made her prevent One Eye from more closely inspecting the cubs he had fathered.

Related Characters: Kiche, the she-wolf, One Eye
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the importance of instinct is clear. The she-wolf has mothered a brood of pups with One Eye. One Eye, the she-wolf senses (due to thousands of years of instinct that extend far beyond her own personal experience, and into a kind of "collective memory"), may be thinking about eating his own children for food. She then defends her pups from their own father, perhaps saving their lives.

London doesn't pass moral judgment on anything that happens in the passage--he takes a harsh, Darwinian view of survival, recognizing that the she-wolf's actions are "good" insofar as they ensure a new generation of wolves.

Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

There was something calling to him [White Fang] out there in the open. His mother heard it, too. But she heard also that other and louder call, the call of the fire and of man—the call which it has been given alone of all animals to the wolf to answer.

Related Characters: White Fang, Kiche, the she-wolf
Related Symbols: Fire, The Call
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we see White Fang torn between the two halves of his nature: his wild, independent half, and his subservient, domestic half. White Fang could easily run away from his human owners and live in the wild for the rest of his life. Or he could stay behind and live with his masters. In the end, he and his mother choose to live with humans, perhaps because they're given warmth and food there, and perhaps because they've had loyalty beaten into them. London presents this choice as the conflict of two different "calls": the "call of the wild" (the title of London's other most famous novel) and the "call of man."

The passage shows a kind of "social contract" in the animals' lives: they have a free choice between wildness and civilization. In the end, they choose civilization perhaps because it's just better; their quality of life is simply higher. White Fang sacrifices some of his freedom (i.e., he has an owner), but in return he gets a warm fire and plenty of food. And yet there's still a question of whether or not White Fang's choice is truly free--he's loyal to his masters, but perhaps that's because he's been hurt so many times.

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Kiche, the she-wolf Character Timeline in White Fang

The timeline below shows where the character Kiche, the she-wolf appears in White Fang. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
...towards something in the darkness. In the firelight the men see a "doglike animal," a she-wolf. Henry realizes that she is the cause of Fatty and Frog's disappearance. (full context)
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
From the she-wolf's doglike behavior, Bill and Henry conclude that she has not only run with the wolves,... (full context)
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
That evening, the she-wolf comes to the campsite. Bill and Henry observe the dog's peculiar gait, its wistful, yet... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
...to unharness the dogs from the sled. One Ear breaks into a run towards the she-wolf, who greets him with a coy and playful smile, Yet One Ear retreats from the... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
...to keep the hungry wolves at bay. He doses off, but awakens to see the she-wolf before him. Fearing for his life, he becomes acutely aware of the lifeblood running within... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
The next night is like the one before. Henry doses off, the she-wolf awakens him, but this time, he drives a searing hot brand into her mouth, burning... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
We learn that it is the she-wolf who led the pack onto Bill and Henry's trail and it is she who saves... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
...pack's leaders, and a gaunt, old wolf, One Eye, run on either side of the she-wolf, jostling for her affections, but the ongoing famine prevents them from fighting to mate with... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
One Eye, the young leader, and an ambitious three-year-old remain to fight for the she-wolf's affections. One Eye and the young leader team up to eliminate the three-year-old from the... (full context)
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
One Eye and the she-wolf romp through the forest, until they reach an Indian campsite. Its sights and smells incite... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
The she-wolf and One Eye linger about the camp, until a gunshot scares them off. The she-wolf... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
...his mate has given birth to a litter of pups. He approaches them, but the she-wolf, fearing that One Eye will eat her pups, snarls at him. One Eye obeys the... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
The she-wolf rebukes the gray cub for crawling towards the light. From her sharp nudges and swift... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
Famine strikes the she-wolf's lair. One Eye desperately hunts for meat, but all the cubs, save the gray cub,... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
One Eye no longer returns to the cave, so the she-wolf ventures out of the cave to investigate. She finds his remains on the trail, as... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
...a yellow mother weasel. It attacks him at the throat, nearly killing him, but the she-wolf rescues the cub in the nick of time and kills the weasel. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
The famine is broken when the she-wolf brings home a lynx kitten for the cub to eat. But this meat does not... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
...ki-yi, or yelp. The Indians laugh at his wailing, but the cub's cry summons the she-wolf to his aid. (full context)
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
The she-wolf defensively stands over her pup, but wilts into submission at the sound of her name,... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Gray Beaver takes White Fang and Kiche to the Indian camp, where White Fang meets Lip-lip, a fierce fighting puppy, who snarls... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
One day White Fang and Kiche stray to the edge of the forest, where they hear the wild's call. But the... (full context)
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Gray Beaver sells Kiche off to another Indian to pay off a debt. In terror at losing his mother,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
Later in the summer, White Fang encounters his mother, Kiche, tending to a new litter of pups. Not recognizing her son, she attacks him. White... (full context)
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
...kills small animals and even a grown wolf with ease. In the forest, he encounters Kiche again, but only one of her pups remains alive. (full context)