by Jack London
White Fang Coming of Age Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph) Shmoop has numbered the chapters continuously, but the book renumbers them in each Part.
Live things were meat. They were good to eat. Also, live things when they were large enough, could give hurt. (7.27)
Okay, this sounds pretty brutal. But it also signals one of the first really important things White Fang learns, and one of his first real steps away from puppyhood. London draws pretty clear lines to the lessons White Fang learns, which is one of the many benefits of a direct style of writing. (Thanks, Jack!)
He began to get accurate measurement of his strength and his weakness, and to know when to be bold and when to be cautious. He found it expedient to be cautious all the time, except for the rare moments, when, assured of his own intrepidity, he abandoned himself to petty rages and lusts. (8.2)
Our little wolf is learning, though as with the first quote for this theme, the lessons are scary and kind of Darwinian.
This growl he could not suppress; nor did the man-animal resent it by giving him a blow on the head. And furthermore, such was the strangeness of it, White Fang experienced an unaccountable sensation of pleasure as the hand rubbed back and forth. (9.21)
White Fang learns to control his urges, or to give that control over to a man. There are benefits and drawbacks to both equations; part of White Fang's growing up is learning when it's good to put the man in charge, and when it stinks like week-old garbage.