Part 1: There can be no disputing the power of Nature and White Fang by Jack London, emphasizes this from the beginning. In chapter 1 of Part 1, the wolves are ever present as Bill and Henry urge their dogs through the snow with a coffin. This chapter reveals the "wild, savage, frozen-hearted" and unforgiving landscape and man's part in it. The men are low on ammunition and their dogs start to go missing. In chapter 2, a strange "tame wolf" is seen by the men and dogs continue to go missing, leaving only three, and reducing Bill to a state of depression. The build up is purposefully slow and the reader is uneasy.
In chapter 3 Bill, in his efforts to save One Ear, one of the remaining dogs, is killed by the wolves and so Henry must continue on with just two dogs. He places the coffin high in a tree so he and the dogs can continue. Henry acknowledges his own mortality and the fact that he is merely "sustenance" to the ever-approaching wolves. He awakes from the sleep that overcame him to find that he has been rescued and the wolves are howling in the distance.
Part two, chapter 1 sets the order of the wolves, the hunting habits and the female's difficulties catching rabbits. There is no emotion in the wild and this is intensified through the manner in which the wolves assert themselves. Ultimately, the she-wolf is alone with the old male, "One Eye," he having killed his competitors. In chapter 2, she is anxious to find a lair as she will soon have puppies and is content when she finds what she has been looking for. One Eye takes his responsibility seriously and hunts for food. The she-wolf is cautious and will not let him close to the young, for fear of him eating them but, after he brings a porcupine for her, she begins to trust him more.
Chapter 3 reveals the softer side to these wild animals as the reader is introduced to the gray cub. His introductions to the world and his understanding of "hurt" reveal important lessons in survival that he will need if he is to meet and overcome the challenges that face him and the other cubs, far more than that which they are exposed to in the cave as they are attracted to the natural light for which their mother makes it clear they are not yet ready. Unfortunately, there is no food, despite both father and mother hunting and, after a while, only the gray cub is left. Even old One Eye succumbs as he fights with a lynx - herself with a litter of kittens and the she-wolf must protect her one remaining cub.
In chapter 4, the entrance to the cave- the "white wall of light"- is still off limits to the cub but as he grows he can no longer simply obey his mother and he heads out of the cave. Breaking through "the wall of the world," the cub begins his education. Soon he discovers his "lust to kill" and is pleased with himself but is also overwhelmed by fear and hides in the bush as a hawk swoops on the ptarmigan, a bird, he has been fighting and whose chicks he has already devoured. After an experience with water, the cub begins to long for his mother who, fortunately saves him from a protective weasel which would otherwise have certainly killed him. The bond with his mother is strengthened. Ch. 5 continues the cub's education and his understanding of his mother's strengths and his own weaknesses. He also experiences great hunger. A fight with a lynx reduces his mother's capacity and he is also hurt. He learns an important lesson" The aim of life is meat."
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