Study Guide

White Fang God

By Jack London


London never comes out and says that God's involved here. He's sneaky like that.

We see so much from White Fang's perspective and to White Fang, men are "fire-makers! They were gods" (9.40). They hold absolute power over him, and he learns their not-so-easy lessons pretty quickly. They inflict pain, sometimes arbitrarily. They can be cruel and ugly, and there's nothing he can do but take it. But they can also reward him when he does good and—in the case of Scott—show him what it means to really love. He doesn't always understand it, but "the more they displayed their mysterious powers, the greater loomed their god-likeness" (10.1).

Which is all starting to sound very familiar, don't you think? London's depiction of men as arbitrary, all-powerful gods is a clever way of talking about God as He relates to humans, too. Since humans seem like gods to animals, so too would we look at any kind of higher power that shapes and guides us in ways we can't quite understand. For London, it doesn't always make sense when bad things happen to us, and like White Fang, we can only rage and wonder what exactly we've done to deserve it. So White Fang suddenly becomes a way for us to grapple with those big questions about faith and God… questions that don't always have easy answers.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...