White Fang

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White Fang Part 5, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scott and White Fang arrive in San Francisco. The "towering buildings" and rush of cable cars, automobiles, and carriages overwhelm White Fang, filling him with awe and fear over man's "mastery over matter". The city is nightmarish, so White Fang clings to Scott's side.
To a wild half-wolf the city represents a degree of power over nature that is awe- and fear-inspiring. White Fang, in his fear, clings closely to Scott just as he used to cling to his mother.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
White Fang is separated from Scott briefly when he's loaded into a train's baggage car. Tossed among the luggage, he feels deserted by his master. When Scott arrives to claim him, they are no longer in the city, but in the country, Sierra Vista. White Fang marvels at this "transformation" regarding it as miraculous work of the "gods."
That White Fang grows anxious over being separated from Scott shows his deep devotion to his master. White Fang's sense of the "transformation" of the land implies his complete lack of understanding of train travel as well as his reverence for mankind.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
At the train station, a man and a woman greet Scott. The woman wraps her arms around Scott, but White Fang regards this as a "hostile act" and nearly attacks the woman, who turns out to be Scott's mother. Scott holds White Fang down and promises that he will "learn soon enough." The "man-gods" load themselves and Scott's luggage into the carriage and White Fang follows.
White Fang's background makes him unable to recognize friendly gestures. Any closeness to him or his master strikes him as a threat. Scott's assurance that White Fang will "learn," indicates his faith that he, and experience, will domesticate White Fang.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
Trailing Scott's carriage, White Fang arrives at the Scott family estate. Suddenly, an aggressive female sheep dog, Collie, blocks White Fang's path because she distrusts wolves. But White Fang withholds his wrath because "the law of his kind" forbids him from attacking females. After several attempts to bypass her, he knocks her down so that he can follow Scott's carriage.
Collie's aggression against White Fang highlights her domestic lineage. As the offspring of sheepdogs reared by man, she displays an instinctual distrust of wild creatures, like White Fang. White Fang's refusal to attack Collie indicates a certain kind of nobility in his wildness, yet at the same time he knocks her down, refusing to submit to her.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
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Arriving to greet Scott's carriage at the house, White Fang is knocked down by a deer-hound, Dick. Incensed, White Fang, prepares to attack, but Collie intervenes, knocking White Fang off his feet again. Calling off the dogs, Scott leads White Fang into house. White Fang remains close to his master's side, while Collie regards him with suspicion.
Dick's attack on White Fang shows the conflict between wild and domestic animals. Dick and Collie fight because they fear wild intruders, while White Fang fights to preserve his life. Despite the domestic animals' distrust, Scott's mastery protects White Fang from harm, and all the dogs obey their masters. In this case, the human masters issue orders that protect the dogs, in contract to the men who ordered the dogs to fight for their own enjoyment.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon