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White Fang

White Fang


by Jack London

White Fang Competition Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph) Shmoop has numbered the chapters continuously, but the book renumbers them in each Part.

Quote #1

"They got Bill, an' they may get me, but they'll sure never get you, young man," he said, addressing the dead body in its tree-sepulchre. (3.21)

Competition, part the first: Henry sets the stakes of his battle with the wolves. If they get the coffin, they win. If he keeps it safe, he wins. Notice that he no longer cares about his chance at living: he's pretty much already given that up to the wolves. He sets his own terms for the engagement, unlike animals, who compete only for food and the ability to go on living. (Animals probably have it a little rougher.)

Quote #2

But if they were all mildness toward her, they were all fierceness toward one another. (4.13)

We're dealing with sex here, but not the NSFW kind. Sex in White Fang is all about the ability to procreate, and pass your genetics on to another generation. It's a huge deal, which is why the fight here ends up being a fight to the death. And you thought having to pay for dinner was bad…

Quote #3

His development was in the direction of power. In order to face the constant danger of hurt and even of destruction, his predatory and protective faculties were unduly developed. (11.12)

London equates power with the ability to thrive in competition. To fight, to win, to survive… that's apparently all White Fang is good for, at least at this stage.

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