The story is about a wolf named White Fang, and begins before he was born, with his father and mother leading a pack in the dead of winter in the frozen Canadian wilderness. There is no game around and they all are starving.
They harass and harry a beleaguered dog-sled team over the course of several days, picking the dogs off one by one, then finally surrounding the one remaining man.
He builds a ring of fire to protect himself from these ravenous wolves, but knows he soon must succumb to exhaustion. He notices the she-wolf, sitting patiently outside the ring, seemingly indifferent--except for the string of drool coming out of her mouth in anticipation of making a meal out of him.
That is the lesson here, in this story of White Fang. It is a savage world, a world in which you either kill or are killed, eat or are eaten.
White Fang’s first day out of the den, he kills and eats a small bird, then in turn is almost eaten by a hawk.
He observes a porcupine roll itself into a ball to defend itself against a lynx, then observes the lynx yowl in pain after foolishly getting stung. The lynx plays another prominent role.
Trying to survive a typical lean winter, White Fang's mother takes the desperate step of going to the absent lynx's den to eat its offspring. The enraged lynx later comes to their den and attacks, but with the help of a growing White Fang, they defeat it. It also becomes a meal.
White Fang eventually gets taken in by men, first an Indian tribe where he is "tamed" with brutality, then by white traders who use him for their own purposes.
Through it all we see the cruel world in which he lives and feel his pain and hunger and anger.
It is a well-plotted adventure carefully observed, and serves as a great reminder of how savage the untamed wilderness is, and that mankind is often only a bare step above it.
It is a worthy companion (or sequel) to "The Call of the Wild”. If you love “Call of the Wild”, you will definitely love this as well.
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