White Fang

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White Fang Part 5, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Around this time, the newspapers report that a convict, Jim Hall, has escaped from San Quentin jail. He is a "human beast", who was "ill-made in the making" and ill-treated by society and the prison guards.
Like Beauty Smith, Jim Hall is a man who is made beast-like both by his own nature and his environment. Already "ill-made," prison makes him a brute.
Themes
Nature v. Nurture Theme Icon
At Sierra Vista, the Scott family reads the newspapers with "anxiety," because Judge Scott sent Jim Hall to jail. Jim Hall was innocent of the crime, but Judge Scott, unwittingly pulled into a police conspiracy, sentenced Jim Hall to fifty years in prison. Convinced that Judge Hall was part of the ploy, Jim Hall vowed that he would take vengeance on the Judge and his family.
Judge Scott's inadvertent sentencing of an innocent Jim Hall highlights how Jim Hall's life has been subjected to unfavorable circumstances. Initially, Jim Hall is an innocent man, but now it becomes clear that corrupt people used his "ill-made" ugliness to frame him, thus corrupting him into a vengeful human being. In this way, Jim Hall is much like White Fang was before he met Scott.
Themes
Nature v. Nurture Theme Icon
Every night, Alice secretly lets White Fang sleep in the house and then lets him back out before the family wakes in the morning. One night, White Fang senses a stranger in the house. Just as the stranger is about to climb up the stairs to Scott's bedroom, White Fang pounces. The household awakens to the sounds of struggle. Two gunshots fire. Scott flicks on the light and sees Jim Hall dead on the floor with his throat torn open. White Fang is next to him, barely alive.
White Fang proves himself to be a loyal and devoted domesticated dog when he takes down Jim Hall. Instead of using his fighting instincts to hunt, or fend for himself, White Fang fights to protect and defend his human family. Because of his selfless act, he confirms himself as the canine protector of Scott's house, even as he willingly sacrifices himself to do so.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
Mastery Theme Icon
Domestication Theme Icon
The Scott family calls a surgeon to save White Fang. The surgeon pronounces that his chances for survival are one in one thousand, but White Fang, out of an inborn strength, clings to life, heals, and survives.
Though White Fang's chances of survival are low, his tenacious strength and will to survive triumphs against the odds.
Themes
The Struggle for Survival Theme Icon
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While White Fang recovers, he dreams about his life, from the time he was a pup, hunting in the woods during famine, to the time he arrives with Scott in San Francisco.
White Fang's dream reflects his transformation from a wild wolf, which must hunt and scavenge, to a domestic dog, loyal to and loved by man.
Themes
Domestication Theme Icon
White Fang's bandages are removed. The Scott family dubs him the "Blessed Wolf." Weakly, he walks outside to the stables, where he is astonished to find Collie laying with a dozen pups. Collie snarls at him, but Scott brings one of the puppies to White Fang, who licks the puppy's face. The "gods" of the Scott family applaud, while the litter of pups playfully mauls their father.
White Fang's new title, the "Blessed Wolf," alludes to his feral past, but also confirms his sacred role as protector and companion within the Scott household. Note how Collie snarls at White Fang just as White Fang's mother snarled at his father when White Fang was a pup. Back then, White Fang's father channeled his fatherly instincts into hunting. But here, White Fang shows that he has learned the lessons of domesticity and love, by showing affection to and playing with his pups. By not only fathering pups with Collie but by treating them with love, he establishes his lineage among the world of domestic dogs, and ensures that his own pups will grow up within that world of love and companionship.
Themes
Domestication Theme Icon
Mating and Parenthood Theme Icon