White Fang

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

White Fang Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bill and Henry eat breakfast and set out. As darkness falls the wolves' "hunting-cries" increase, making Bill, Henry, and their dogs nervous. A sharp cry rises from the pack as Bill emerges with a club and part of a dried salmon in hand. According to Bill, a wolf, looking very much like a dog, tried to steal it. Bill and Henry suspect that it is a tame wolf.
The "tame wolf" that reappears at Bill and Henry's camp to steal fish shows both wild and domestic tendencies. It looks like a dog and eats like a dog, but runs with a wild wolf pack. Because this creature is both tame and feral it hovers between the domestic and wild worlds.
Themes
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
The next morning Bill and Henry discover that Frog, the strongest of the dogs, has gone missing, likely eaten by the wolves. That night, as a precaution, Bill ties each dog to a stick in the ground with a leather thong so that they cannot chew through the harness and escape.
Frog's disappearance is another sign of the wild's lethal nature. Bill and Henry's attempt to thwart nature's call by tying their dogs down with a stick and leather thong. This action underlines their mastery over the dogs.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Meanwhile, One Ear strains against the leather thong, whining and lunging 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.
Despite Bill and Henry's attempts to master their dogs, the call of the wild remains strong for some, like One Ear. The she-wolf that he lunges at represents the lure of nature.
Themes
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
From the she-wolf's doglike behavior, Bill and Henry conclude that she has not only run with the wolves, but also eaten from "the hand of man." Bill nods off to sleep.
Exhibiting doglike and wolfish behavior, the she-wolf embodies the struggle between domestic leanings and feral yearnings.
Themes
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Get the entire White Fang LitChart as a printable PDF.
White fang.pdf.medium
The next morning Spanker's gone. A few hundred yards on the trail, Henry discovers the last trace of Spanker—the stick to which he had been tied. The wolves, desperate for food, ate every inch of the dog, including his leather ties. Bill, disgruntled by the loss of another sled dog, grows anxious over the wolf pack's pursuit of them.
Spanker's death and disappearance illustrates the ravenous nature of the wolves and their will to survive. They are so starved that they will do anything to survive, including eating the leather ties that bind their canine brethren.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
That evening, the she-wolf comes to the campsite. Bill and Henry observe the dog's peculiar gait, its wistful, yet ferocious aspect, and the unusual coloring of its coat, a "faint reddish hue." She stares at them hungrily and wistfully. Disturbed by her ravenous gaze, Bill attempts to shoot the she-wolf, but she jumps aside before he can even take aim.
The she-wolf's visit to the campsite highlights her curiosity with man. Her wistful look suggests that she longs for man's friendship. Yet her hungry gaze reveals her feral nature. While man's kinship intrigues her, she also regards man as prey.
Themes
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
With three dogs left, Bill and Henry make camp early and tie the dogs down. The wolves grow bolder, coming closer and closer to the campsite during the night. Bill likens them to land-sharks, following a ship, waiting for their human prey.
Bill's comparison of the wolves to "land-sharks" emphasizes their predatory nature. Like sharks following a ship, the wolves trail Bill and Henry's team, waiting for the right opportunity to strike.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon