In the first installment of Ben’s Book Club, I discussed Jack London’s “Sea Wolf”. That book was awesome (for the most part), and left me wanting to read more books by Mr. London. So, being an insatiable bibliophile, that’s just what I did.
My next Jack London selection was the classic “White Fang”, which, unlike “Sea Wolf”, was about wolves.
I knew I was going to like “White Fang” as soon as I saw the table of contents. The book’s 192 pages were divided into 25 chapters, each bearing a more ominous and heavy title than the last. These chapter names were so laden with violence and dread that they may as well have been thrash-metal song titles. In fact, I defy you, the reader, to be able to tell the difference. Below are two lists. One contains five “White Fang” chapter names. The other includes fives songs written by the legendary Brazilian metal group Sepultura.
List A: The Curse, The Abyss, The Hunt, The Ways of Faith, The Rift
List B: The Clinging Death, The Mad God, The Bondage, The Wall of the World, The Famine.
Give up? The answer awaits after the so-called “jump”…
List A are Sepultura songs, List B are “White Fang” chapter titles. Awesome, huh?
As for the book itself, London definitely took a risk in writing it from the perspective of a wolf (the titular “White Fang”). But I thought he pulled it off well, and it turned out to be a nice deviation from the humanist perspective that has so permeated our literary culture in recent years.
The somewhat rambling storyline encompasses White Fang’s entire life, from his birth in the wild to Indian sled dog to imprisoned fighter to beloved house pet. Largely, it is a life of violence and isolation, in which nearly every other living thing is looked upon as an enemy (and often, meat). In this regard, it could just as well have been a story about how Tom Lorenzo relates to women.
I kid, I kid. The main point of all this is that I have become a big fan of Jack London’s work, and will continue to seek out his books. But don’t take my word for it…the following is the concluding sentence from a middle school “White Fang” book report I stumbled upon online: Overall, I would rate this book an eight out of ten. It has suspense, action, a climax, and ironic twist, and a dog.
My thoughts exactly!