White Fang

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White Fang Part 5, Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The months go by. Although White Fang misses the Northland, he prospers under the sunshine and abundance of the Southland and Scott's kindness, "flourishing like a flower planted in good soil." He knows the law of man and gets along with all the other dogs, except Collie, who remains suspicious of him.
The comparison of White Fang's development in the Southland to a flower flourishing in good soil once again highlights how environment affects character.
Themes
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Nature v. Nurture Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
White Fang learns to laugh by romping and roughhousing with his master. After each tussle, Scott embraces White Fang and they laugh at each other good-naturedly.
Through Scott's affection, White Fang learns to laugh. Laughter was once derisive to White Fang, but now it symbolizes love and humor.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
White Fang also learns how to bark. While riding in the pasture one day, Scott's horse stumbles over a jackrabbit and breaks Scott's leg. Scott instructs White Fang to "go home." White Fang returns to the house, where he alerts Scott's wife, Alice, to her husband's trouble by barking at her.
White Fang's bark is a signal of his domestication. As a wolf, he never barks, but only howls. A howl is a call of the wild; a bark is means of communication to humans. That White Fang uses his voice to bark to save Scott shows his transformation into a domesticated dog, who uses his skills to serve his master.
Themes
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
White Fang's second winter in the Southland arrives. He notices a change in Collie. She is more playful and gentle. One day, when he is about to go out with Scott on a horse ride, Collie nips him playfully, inviting him to run with her, instead. After a moment's indecision, he follows his instincts and follows her.
White Fang's decision to run with Collie over Scott is one moment where Scott's mastery over White Fang lapses. At this instance, a more powerful instinct—to mate, make love, and perpetuate life—overcomes White Fang's loyalty to his master.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Domestic Yearnings v. Natural Instinct Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon
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