The Indians break camp in the fall to go off hunting, but White Fang deliberately stays behind, hiding in the forest. He takes pleasure in his freedom. But that night an intense feeling of loneliness strikes him as memories of the camp spill into his mind. He goes to the abandoned camp and mournfully howls over its emptiness. Longing for the "protection and companionship of man," White Fang breaks into a run at morning's light, following the river to find his master.
White Fang follows his natural instincts when he escapes to the woods. In the forest, White Fang is torn between the freedom that nature offers him and the safety and security that man provides him. When White Fang chooses to pursue his master, he also chooses to listen to his domestic yearnings for companionship. Man's call overpowers nature's call.
White Fang runs for forty hours straight, neither eating, nor resting. His body is giving out, but his mind's endurance pushes him forward, even as it begins to snow.
White Fang's determination to be reunited with man is so single-minded that he foregoes his natural instincts to feed and rest.
By nightfall, White Fang finds the Indian camp. Expecting a beating, he humbly crawls towards Gray Beaver. He surrenders himself "body and soul" to his master. Instead of punishing White Fang, Gray Beaver offers him a piece of tallow as a peace offering. White Fang accepts and sits by his master at the fireside, content in the knowledge that he is safe and secure under man's companionship.
White Fang's self abasement shows his conscious and willing decision to give him self over to man's care. In doing so, he surrenders his individual freedom, but gains safety, security, and companionship. He commits himself to man's service, so man's mastery is confirmed.