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White Fang

White Fang


by Jack London

White Fang Theme of Courage

It takes guts to make things happen in life. A little puppy pushing out of his cave into the great big world needs a big sack of courage to do it right. On another level, you need some brass to step into a lethal dog fight, insult the patrons, and pry the jaws of one of the animals loose. Without courage, White Fang would still be in that cave (and likely dead), and Scott wouldn't have been able to save the wolf from getting chomped to death by a bulldog. London puts a lot of stock in courage, and it reflects the best that his White Fang characters can do. (Cue Rocky theme here.)

Questions About Courage

  1. Is it possible for wild animals to be brave in this story? How does it run against their survival instinct? Or run with it, for that matter?
  2. Weedon Scott is one of the only humans in the story to show real bravery. How does that make him a great owner for White Fang?
  3. Does the need to survive make bravery possible? Could White Fang act bravely if he didn't have this burning need to stay alive?
  4. Is courage defined by fearlessness in the book? Or is it being afraid and doing what you need to do anyway?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Bravery comes from the need to survive and works only as far as it helps a given character stay alive.

Courage is the sign of a noble soul, and it only loosely connected with the need to survive in White Fang.

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