Topics for Further Study

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White Fang tells the life story of the title character, but London chose a somewhat unexpected starting point and ending point for his story: The entire first section of the novel centers on the life of White Fang’s mother before White Fang is born, and the story ends before White Fang dies. Discuss what reasons London might have had for these decisions and whether you think they are effective or not.

In parts of western Canada and Alaska, dogsleds are still an important method of transportation. Do research to learn where dogsleds are still in use and what the lives of the dogs and the people who use them are like.

The rights of animals—both domesticated and wild—and what constitutes acceptable treatment of them is an issue that is often debated today. The legal status of animals is changing as some lawmakers, attorneys, and activists push for increased protection of animals from human abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Discuss the issue of animal rights and humane treatment as it relates to the novel. Should laws protect animals from abuse such as that suffered by White Fang? If so, how should people who break these laws be punished? Should laws prohibit people from owning wild animals?

Do research to learn about wolves and wolf-dog hybrids. Find out how accurate and realistic London’s portrayal of White Fang was. Could an animal that is three-quarters wolf really become as tame as White Fang did?

Using place names mentioned in the novel as your starting point, do research to learn more about the Native Americans mentioned in the novel. What tribe would they have been part of? What was their culture like? Do they still live in the area today?

The novel is set just before and during the Yukon gold rush of 1898. Learn more about this event. How did it start, how long did it last, and how did it impact the settlement of the area?

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Topics for Discussion


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