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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
White Fang's fights with Lip-lip continue to rage as furiously as ever. He makes a reputation for himself as being the most wicked dog in camp. He can also snarl more terribly than any other dog, a skill he uses to his advantage. Both humans and animals hate him. He is always mixed up in squabbles over stolen meat. He is also totally on his own, for no dog ever backs him. White Fang, however, never hesitates to leave his teeth marks on any of the other dogs. In fact, he learns to fight very effectively and efficiently, even when he is outnumbered. He also learns to attack without warning, catching his enemy off guard. One day he kills one of the camp dogs on the edge of the woods. Gray Beaver refuses to listen to the protests of Indians over the killing. White Fang is his dog.
Because of White Fang's ferocity, no dog is left alone, for fear of his attacks. His favorite trick is to lose his trail in the water, hide from his enemy, and attack in a surprising manner. Although the strength of the pack lies in its size, White Fang manages to gain the upper hand. The dogs know that he can kill the leader of a pack before the other dogs arrive. By this point he has learned to obey the strong and oppress the weak.
White Fang's constant fights with Lip-lip and the rest of the pack gain him a reputation for being fierce. In fact, he becomes an expert fighter, learning the intricacies of battle through experience. He quickly learns never to let himself be caught in a helpless situation. In addition, he learns to attack the throat, the most vulnerable spot of a dog. Because of his ferocity and his instinct, neither the camp members nor the dogs like him. When White Fang kills another camp dog, the Indians protest, but Gray Beaver defends him.
White Fang soon lives by his survival instinct, the law of the Wild; to survive, a dog must embrace violence and aggression as a way of life, which help him to survive in a cruel world. It is interesting that White Fang's first experience with man and his domesticated animals should so strongly cultivate his natural killer instincts. It is a clear comment on London's part about man's cruelty.
With the arrival of autumn, the days grow shorter, and it is getting colder. When the camp members prepare to leave for another place, White Fang escapes into the forest. He enjoys the freedom of the wild for a while, but soon finds himself lonely and scared and longing for the comfort of the camp. In truth, he has lost the knack of hunting and is even scared by a tree's shadow. Afraid and desperate, he returns to the camp but finds the Indians have gone. He wails loudly with apprehension.
The next morning, White Fang plunges into the forest and follows the stream down to the riverbank. Following the river's course, White Fang runs for thirty hours. He finally arrives hungry and tired at the new Indian camp. White Fang joins them around the fire, gets his share of meat, and eats it contentedly.
White Fang's desire to retreat into the wild finally materializes into an opportunity as the camp members get ready to leave. He slinks away and hides, ignoring the calls from his "gods." For awhile, he enjoys his freedom, but when it gets dark, he feels lonely and afraid. He is even startled by the shadows thrown by trees in the moonlight. He also has lost his hunting instinct. As a result, he runs back to camp to the protection of Gray Beaver and his family, Kloo-kooch and Mit-sah.
White Fang would have gladly taken a beating from Gray Beaver or welcomed a fight with Lip-lip and the gang. Instead, he finds the camp empty. In apprehension, he lets out a long, piercing howl. He then gathers his courage and sets off to find the Indians. He runs for thirty hours before catching up to them. When he arrives at the new camp, he is starving and exhausted; his coat is a mess, and both of his feet are bruised and bleeding. Gray Beaver takes pity on him and does not punish him for leaving. Instead, he is given food and attention. In fact, Gray Beaver even protects him from the other dogs as he eats. White Fang feels secure again.