White Fang by Jack London
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
White Fang, by Jack London
★★★★★ and a ♥
Synopsis: In the desolate, frozen wilds of northwest Canada, White Fang, a part dog, part wolf cub soon finds himself the sole survivor of a litter of five. In his lonely world, he soon learned to follow the harsh law of the North- kill or be killed.
But nothing in his young life prepared him for the cruelty of the bully Beauty Smith, who buys White Fang from his Indian master and turns him into a vicious killer- a pit dog forced to fight for money.
Will White Fang ever know the kindness of a gentle master or will he die a fierce deadly killer?
A classic adventure novel detailing the savagery of life in the northern wilds. Its central character is a ferocious and magnificent creature, through whose experiences we feel the harsh rhythms and patterns of wilderness life among animals and men.
In A Sentence: A classic and wonderful story of survival and overcoming the odds.
My Thoughts: There is something about this story that is simple, and yet hauntingly beautiful. The writing is redundant, repeating the same words over again, and constantly re-iterating the same thing over and over again. Yet the redundancy is poetic, and it reflects White Fang’s simple, yet intelligent view on life.
The setup of this story is simply fantastic. It is full of symbolism and foreshadowing. Look at the way Jack London shows the stages of man going from being a victim of the wild, to eventually conquering and controlling the wild. Then there’s White Fang, who goes from being an animal of the wild, to completely turning his back to the wild.
(view spoiler)[ When he fights the man at the end, you’re looking at a symbolic fight between wild vs. civilization, except the roles are reversed; White Fang is fighting for civilization, while the man is wild. This shows how White Fang has denounced his background and has become a fully domesticated animal. White Fang’s encounter with the weasel at the beginning of the novel also foreshadows his encounter with the bulldog. (hide spoiler)]
My review cannot give this book justice. Suffice it to say it is very well done, and I would read it again in a heartbeat. This is one of those instances where I can’t wait when I have kids and they have to read this book in school, and I can discuss this story with them. For now, I’ll stick with trying to get my husband to read it so I can have someone to talk to about this haunting story. :)
Obviously, I would strongly recommend this read. Be warned, however: this book doesn’t hold back. The wild is shown in a brutally honest light, and the abuse that White Fang experiences can be pretty cringe-worthy at times. But it is still a great story, and worthy of being a classic piece of literature.
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