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Group Reads/Readalongs > March 2016 Group Read --White Fang

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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Today, we start our group read/discussion of Jack London's White Fang. So, this will be the thread to post all of your comments, observations, reactions, questions, etc. about this novel as you read. (Remember to use spoiler tags if they're appropriate!)

As a young man, London (1876-1916) took part in the Yukon Gold Rush in Alaska; a significant amount of his fiction, including White Fang, is set there. An adherent of the Naturalist school of writing, he viewed humans as primarily driven by primitive, "natural" instinctive and biological impulses. Some critics would say that he was better at portraying animals realistically than he was at portraying people; and in fact his two best known novels (this one and The Call of the Wild) have dogs for protagonists.


message 2: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) I'll be starting this soon. Got it on my tablet's ereader ready to go.


message 3: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Although I read them separately, I reviewed White Fang and The Call of the Wild together because of their thematic similarities, and because of the interesting contrast they pose when considered side by side (although that part of the review is under spoiler tags). Here's the link to that review, if anyone's interested: www.goodreads.com/review/show/15332224 .


message 4: by Katy (new)

Katy | 22 comments I plan on starting it this weekend. I've been wanting to read it for awhile.


message 5: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Glad to have you joining in, Katy!


message 6: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Several of my Goodreads friends have written reviews of White Fang. Here are the links to a couple of the more detailed ones, which might help to give us some grist for discussion: www.goodreads.com/review/show/806987170 and www.goodreads.com/review/show/1279688516 .

"Anthropomorphism" (for anyone who might not be familiar with the word) means treating or picturing creatures who aren't human as if they were, or as if they had more human characteristics than they actually do. (Anna Sewall's Black Beauty is a good example of a novel that presents a pretty anthropomorphic picture of her animal characters.) Would you say that London's portrayal of White Fang here is anthropomorphic? Why or why not? If it is (or perhaps whether or not it is), do you think the author intends any messages for the human world here?

Has anyone in the group read London's other novel with a sled dog protagonist, The Call of the Wild? If so, how would you compare it with this book? Did you like one book better than the other, and why?

These aren't necessarily questions to be answered right away; some might want to consider them after finishing the book. But they might be worth thinking about as you read (or, if you've already read it, as you think back over what you read).


message 7: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
We're coming down now towards the end of the month, so presumably all those who were reading White Fang as part of this common read have finished the book, or are getting close to it. Did you enjoy the book? Why, or why not? What things, if any, do you think that London does particularly well here? Do you have any criticisms of the writing? Who was your favorite character (human or animal), if you had one?


message 8: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) sorry I have not finished this yet but will get to this one eventually. just got too many reads to get to at this time.


message 9: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
No hurry, Amber --the thread will stay open indefinitely!


message 10: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) Okay awesome. When are we nominating for the next one? Just curious.


message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Amber, good question! If we do the next annual one in March 2017, I'd suggest we start seriously brainstorming about what to read in January, with the poll going up early in February. (Of course, we can brainstorm in the interval as well, if you or anyone else has books to suggest!)

Of course, doing an annual read doesn't make it a law that we can only do one a year, if anyone wants to suggest one and there seems to be enough interest to make it viable. Depending on when an extra common read is scheduled, though, I might not take part myself. Some of my other groups do common reads of their own in May, October and November; and during the summer months, I'm often out of town on vacation, with limited Internet access.

Last December, though we didn't do a common read of a single book, members were encouraged to read or discuss Christmas-themed classics. If we do that again, I have a couple of books in mind to read!


message 12: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) I think our next common classic read should be in September. what do you think?


message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Well -- yes; at this point, I'm free of other reading commitments in September, so I could be up for one. In fact, I wouldn't be averse to switching our schedule, and doing one every September, rather than every March. (Until recently, I had a March-April-May sequence of common reads in this group and two others; but it looks like the April one will be moved to June starting next year, and the other group is probably going to discontinue regularly -scheduled reads. Two other groups do common reads in October and November; so that would set up a September-October-November sequence, and give me December-May for "free" reading.) Of course, just because that idea would work out well for me doesn't mean it would for everybody, or that we should automatically do it!

Did you have a book in mind, Amber? There's plenty of time to brainstorm about it, and do a poll in August, if you want to do that.


message 14: by Amber (new)

Amber (amberterminatorofgoodreads) I would love to read Daddy-Long-Legs. that one looked like a good book to read. that's the only one on my mind for classics. and yeah that would be great.


message 15: by Werner (new)

Werner | 627 comments Mod
Sounds good, Amber; we'll do a poll, and we'll definitely put Daddy-Long-Legs in it!


message 16: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 129 comments Mod
I just finished White Fang as a companion novel to Call of the Wild. I enjoyed White Fang more than Call, even though there were some horrific events in his life. The ending was satisfying, if a bit dramatic. The last chapter seems almost to be an afterthought, but perhaps that was on purpose.
London's writing was certainly more developed and the characters of the humans somewhat more fleshed out.
I read a lot of dog stories when I was younger, and in the majority of the cases the dog dies. I was pleasantly surprised with the ending of this book.


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