White Fang

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White Fang Part 4, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The bulldog, Cherokee, and White Fang are released into the ring, but regard each other nervously and with confusion. Neither one is sure how to attack his opponent. The bulldog's thick skin seems immune to White Fang's bite, while White Fang's swiftness perplexes the slow-moving bulldog. After a time as White Fang gets tired, the bulldog finally closes in on White Fang and is able to grasp White Fang's throat in his mouth. The yearning to live overpowers White Fang, but no matter what he does to shake off the bulldog, he cannot escape his assailant's tight and deadly grip.
White Fang's faceoff against the bulldog underlines the intensity of the struggle to live. Their fight is long and slow, more a struggle than the quick attacks White Fang is used to. Though White Fang is exhausted, the bulldog's fatal grip causes White Fang to struggle for his life vigorously. Note that White Fang once before was attacked by an animal biting his neck when the yellow weasel attacked him as a baby.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Seeing White Fang's eyes glaze over, Beauty Smith goes into the ring and begins kicking the animal, while the onlookers hiss and jeer. White Fang is about to give up his struggle to live, when a man named Weedon Scott, and his musher, Matt, arrive.
Beauty's actions highlight the cruel nature of his ownership over White Fang. When White Fang can no longer perform, he only brutalizes him further.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
Horrified by the scene, Scott punches Beauty in the face and yells at the crowd, calling them "beasts" and "cowards." Scott attempts to pry White Fang and the bulldog apart, but finds that it is nearly impossible. He enlists the help of Matt and the bulldog's owner, Tim Keenan. They pull the dogs apart. White Fang is at death's door, but still lives and breaths.
Scott calls Beauty and the other men coward's and beasts because they enjoy brutalizing those animals that are less powerful than them. The difficulty with which Scott pries White Fang and the bulldog apart emphasizes death's severe and deadly grip upon White Fang and his hard fought struggle to survive. Just as White Fang's mother saved him from the yellow weasel, Scott saves him here—a sign that White Fang's relationship with Scott will be one of love.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Nature v. Nurture Theme Icon
Though Beauty resists selling White Fang, Scott intimidates him into forfeiting his ownership rights and buys the dog for one hundred and fifty dollars.
Beauty can lord over dogs but not over other men, further illustrating both his cowardice and the weakness inherent in bullying—there is always someone stronger.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
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