After living the first months of his life in the wild, White Fang is exposed to humans and the way they live when he is found by a group of men. This learning process has a profound effect on the puppy as he comes to view the works of humans as signs of mastery over their world, including him. One of the things he experiences is the erection of teepees when the rest of the village arrives and makes camp.
White Fang is scared of the tepees at first, as they seem to grow up around him. He has never experienced anything like them, and he fears that they are living beings that may hurt him in some way:
They arose around him, on every side, like some monstrous quick-growing form of life. They occupied nearly the whole circumference of his field of vision. He was afraid of them. They loomed ominously above him; and when the breeze stirred them into huge movements, he cowered down in fear, keeping his eyes warily upon them, and prepared to spring away if they attempted to precipitate themselves upon him.
The apparent growth of the structures and the flapping of the hide coverings are alien to the still-wild puppy—he has never seen anything being built, nor does he know how to interpret the movement of the tepee coverings other than to conclude that they are alive. Further, because he has already come to learn that things larger than himself are a danger, he is terrified of their tremendous size. Thus, he first thinks of them as a monstrous form of life.
He quickly learns, however, that the tepees themselves mean him no harm, and he is soon not afraid of them at all. He does, however, continue to associate their construction with the perceived mastery of humans over their world.