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Themes

Life is pain, as someone smarter than us once noted, and for White Fang, it means a lot of pain. Characters suffer so they don't have to die, they suffer while competing and they suffer as a part of nature's grand design. It stinks, but there's no way around it. For White Fang, at least, his suffering eventually ends: and not in the grim downer of a way that it ends for so many other people. London really wants us to know what a happy ending feels like, and he can't write one for White Fang unless his poor little puppy dog goes through the ringer first.

Questions About Suffering

  1. What's the difference between suffering in the wild and suffering in civilization? Does either way make more sense?
  2. How does suffering change White Fang for the better? For the worse?
  3. How does White Fang inflict suffering on others? Is there a difference in the suffering he inflicts on men rather than animals?

Chew on This

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

Suffering ultimately makes White Fang a better pet than he might be if he'd lived a cushy life all along.

Suffering doesn't do anything good for White Fang; it's only damage that needs to be undone.

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