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Books Read in 2017-2018 > White Fang - Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss the book freely!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I will look forward to all your thoughts. This was not my favorite book. I just couldnt connect with it. I think I like books for how they make me feel, and I need characters who are complex, flawed, richly drawn, likable... human.


message 3: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments One of the central themes of the book seems to be the idea that an individual's personality is extremely malleable to one's environment (with White Fang being compared to clay being molded throughout the book).

If anyone is interested in exploring this subject further, I would recommend "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker.

Note: Pinker is more on the side of "nature" shaping one's character, as opposed to Jack London's support largely for "nurture" in "White Fang" (though to be fair, there were several references of "nature" shaping White Fang's behavior in the book in the references to his "instincts"). Having read Pinker's book, I am inclined to agree more with him (though I will say that this is only to the extend that White Fang is a stand-in for a human, since I have not followed the "nature vs nurture" debate for dogs/wolves)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bla...

https://www.amazon.com/Blank-Slate-Mo...


message 4: by MJD (last edited Jan 02, 2018 04:16AM) (new)

MJD | 331 comments One interesting thing in the book was the lack of agency that nearly every character had, to the point that the actions and personality traits of characters were determined mainly (or possibly entirely) through either their “nature” or their environment.

Jack London seem to emphasize this notion with White Fang and the escaped convict at the end of the book, but there seem to be hints throughout the book that the other characters encountered exist in a deterministic universe as well.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... MJD wrote: "One interesting thing in the book was the lack of agency that nearly every character had, to the point that the actions and personality traits of characters were determined mainly (or possibly enti..."

Thanks for putting that into words. I think this is exactly why I don't like it. Its basically predetermination, and that is probably opposite to what I believe. For me agency and choice are king.


message 6: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey “Having learned to snuggle, White-fang was guilty of it often.” 😂


message 7: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) I am on chapter 3 of Part 2. I really enjoyed part 1, Bill and Henry’s harrowing experience being followed and chased by the wolf pack. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time while reading it.

For anyone wanting a different angle on White Fang, I recommend The Call of the Wild. It is very short (my copy was only 80 pages), and I read in the intro that London intended The Call of the Wild and White Fang to basically be opposite stories from each other.

This is a great book to read this time of year!


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Matt wrote: "I am on chapter 3 of Part 2. I really enjoyed part 1, Bill and Henry’s harrowing experience being followed and chased by the wolf pack. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time while reading it...."

I also enjoyed Part 1. I was very disappointed when it ended and Part 2 started. It felt disjointed and it also left me wanting more of the story of the mushers... I would have given 1 star, but I actually liked part 1 enough to bump it up to 2


message 9: by MJD (last edited Jan 03, 2018 09:04PM) (new)

MJD | 331 comments Kelly wrote: "Matt wrote: "I am on chapter 3 of Part 2. I really enjoyed part 1, Bill and Henry’s harrowing experience being followed and chased by the wolf pack. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time whil..."

I'll chime in and also say that part one was my also favorite. While I liked the book as a whole, I think that part one is the best part (and also works well as a self enclosed short story).

While I would advocate for people to read the book as a whole (an easy enough task, given the book length), I think that people should at least read part one as an engaging short story.


message 10: by MJD (last edited Jan 03, 2018 10:00PM) (new)

MJD | 331 comments It seems that there are two worries that people have about this book that I want to address:

1) IT MAY BE TOO VIOLENT:
I want to say while it was rather violent at times, I thought that it was tastefully done in a non-gratuitous fashion.

2) IT MAY BE TOO CARTOONY, TOO "DISNEY"
I want to say that I had this concern as well after finding out that the main character would be an animal. While Jack London may be guilty of giving animals in the book a bit more human characteristics than they may have in real life (which I feel he needed to do for the sake of story-telling), I felt that he did a good job not personalizing the animals too much (i.e. they don't have conversations with each other like in the Disney movie "Bambi").


message 11: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) I just finished White Fang and rated it 4 stars. Here is a link to my review if anyone is interested: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I enjoyed the religious theme in the story, and we even get a bit of Christian allegory in the very end. White Fang’s name is appropriate for the story as well - “White” in the wolf’s name, evokes a good, holy, and pure, while the “Fang” in the name is the opposite of that, being bad, vicious, and wild. White Fang as a story character illustrates the good and evil in the wider world all wrapped up in one being, and he definitely lives up to his name.

Good book. I hope everyone enjoys it!


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments I just finished this book! Almost everyone I know had to read this in school as part of required reading - I did not. I enjoyed the book and gave it four stars. I do agree that the beginning of the book was the best. I enjoyed this book on survival and the harsh realities of life.

I also liked how it showed how our environment can shape us and change us.

Here is a link to my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Great review Debra. You arent alone. I didnt read it either.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I plan on doing some traveling this year as I need to do higher altitude training. I'm doing the longer climb - 9 days to climb. It's not as grueling and offers better acclimation. It's actually a very doable climb as you have to go very slowly.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I plan on doing som..."


Well, not for me. LOL. I have Lupus and Psoriatic Arthritis. I have O2 24.7.... the days of hoping for something like that are long gone. But I am very impressed and will look forward to hearing about it. When will you go?


message 17: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I plan on doing som..."


What kind of training, Debra? I would love to visit CA, and I have done some hiking in NY State ( climbing) but not steep.


message 18: by Skye (last edited Jan 12, 2018 11:30AM) (new)

Skye | 240 comments Kelly wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I pla..."


Kelly wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I pla..."

Kelly, I have one of the same auto immune disorders.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments Skye wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I pla..."



Lots of hiking ranging in varying difficulty. I do cardio and strength training. I need to be able to hike with a 30-60 lb pack on my back. I never hiked with a pack so that was an adjustment then to go up a steep incline with a heavy pack is hard. I"m still working on that. I'm also working on my rest step and breathing. I tend to be a mouth breather when I hike which is not good. I am working on this. I have a knee issue and I wear a knee brace when I hike and I also use a trekking pole. I prefer to use one but will need to adjust to using two on the hike.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments Kelly wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - although I pla..."


I was supposed to do it later this year but I had an injury last year which changed our plans. Now we are going in 2019.


message 21: by Skye (last edited Jan 12, 2018 05:23PM) (new)

Skye | 240 comments Debra wrote: "Skye wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - a..."


Debra wrote: "Skye wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - a..."


Knee injuries or just plain pain can really create havoc. Have you ever gone to physical therapy? I could never do anything with a heavy pack, Debra. I am a terrible light weight; small in height, bone size and weight. I used to study intense ballet from the age of 3, but ballet can be hard on the body, and I was never strong en pointe, so I was very happy to begin serious studying of yoga ( long, long before it began a trend. I don't believe in 'Hot Yoga' or other forms of it; I am a purist, and I also would love to study Tai Chi; however, I am very adept at 'fast' or power walking---I don't run; I think the pounding can be bad, in the long run. My dream is to hike at the Grand Canyon. Does your knee brace work?


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Skye wrote: "Kelly wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around Los Angeles - ..."


I'm sorry Skye. Both suck! I also have Fibromyalgia and the Plaque Psoriasis.


message 23: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Oh, you poor kid, Kelly; I am here if you ever need to talk, btw.

My mother had and my daughter has RA, and the meds they want me to take are RA meds, but I am not taking anything.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments Skye wrote: "Debra wrote: "Skye wrote: "Debra wrote: "Kelly wrote: "BTW, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro?!?!?! Wow! Where do you train? I live at 8400 feet in CO. You could train lots around here. :)"

I train around L..."


The knee brace works. I have had knee surgery and physical therapy. I just need the extra support. Going downhill hurts without the knee brace.


message 25: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Skye wrote: "Oh, you poor kid, Kelly; I am here if you ever need to talk, btw.

My mother had and my daughter has RA, and the meds they want me to take are RA meds, but I am not taking anything."


I am on Humira right now -- a biologic. But it isnt helping. My PsA is really bad right now, and my plaque is exploding. I see my rheumatologist this week and hopefully they will switch it t something that might help more.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I wonder if either book is still required reading in schools.

I believe animal abuse and dog fighting are more frowned upon now with more stringent laws protecting animals. Not that they were not frowned upon back when the books were printed but with more access to news, the internet, etc. there is more of an outcry. I wonder if these books are still required reading, how these two issues are addressed in class.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments I also think Jack London was ahead of his time having an animal as a main character. Since then other books have done this: Charlotte's Web, Watership down, The Jungle Book, The Yearling, Old Yeller, Black Beauty A dog;'s Purpose, The Art of Racing in the Rain and the Black Stallion are one's that come to mind.

What other books had animals as main characters?


message 29: by MJD (new)

MJD | 331 comments Debra wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I wonder if either book is still required re..."


I think that it would be hard to interpret the book as pro-animal abuse or pro-dog fighting (although I am surprised sometimes by what people can get offended and outraged by), so I don't think that that would make it too much of problem to have it read in schools. That being said, I graduated High School in 2007 and remember that I did not have "White Fang" as required reading.


message 30: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Corey Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I completely agree! I liked White Fang, but it just wasn’t as good.


Debra (semi-hiatus) | 20 comments MJD wrote: "Debra wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I wonder if either book is sti..."


I don't think it would be seen as pro-animal abuse or pro-dog fighting but because these things are in the book, I was wondering if the book would be allowed. My son is in 8th grade and I get phone calls and emails about everything i.e. if your child is upset about the election we will offer free therapy sessions, if you child is not happy with the donations of musical instruments we will offer free therapy (YES! I really got this email). He goes to public school in L.A. and they are worried about kids being offended about everything.


message 32: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Debra wrote: "I also think Jack London was ahead of his time having an animal as a main character. Since then other books have done this: Charlotte's Web, Watership down, The Jungle Book, The Yearling, Old Yelle..."

I think you have covered the ones I am familiar with; I have read and reread all the Black Stallion books, and they are just amazing; I do have a problem with some of them, however, if something happens and it most likely will, then I cry and can't shake it.


message 33: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Kelly wrote: "Skye wrote: "Oh, you poor kid, Kelly; I am here if you ever need to talk, btw.

My mother had and my daughter has RA, and the meds they want me to take are RA meds, but I am not taking anything."

..."

Kelly, PM me.


message 34: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments Debra wrote: "MJD wrote: "Debra wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I wonder if either..."

I think that's amazing, Debra. The schools on the East Coast are not as accommodating.


message 35: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments I have another recommendation for those who enjoy the tundra; Into the Wild by Jon Krakaur.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... Debra wrote: "MJD wrote: "Debra wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Back to discussing the book, I'm enjoying White Fang but at this moment, not as much as The Call of the Wild."

I wonder if either..."


My husband is a teacher. I have found that they worry not because they thing the kids will be offended but because the parents ARE offended. I do not think he has chosen a single book that some parent hasn't complained about.


message 37: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Teaching is such a thankless profession these days. I'm glad I'm done with K-12.


message 38: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Finished. It was a good book. Some parts dragged a little and I did enjoy The Call of the Wild much more but overall, great writing! 🤗


message 39: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments :)


message 40: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Skye wrote: ":)"

😊


message 41: by Irene (new)

Irene | 11 comments I just finished reading all comments on this thread! Also, I have just finished White Fang earlier this morning.

I think the fifth (and last) part was my favourite, when White Fang has already been removed from his natural environment and has to learn, once again, to survive in such a different place. Maybe it's because I was yearning for a happy ending or maybe because I was already used to London's writing style, which I found rather repetitive. Nevertheless, I also enjoyed parts three and four, when White Fang is already interacting with different groups of humans and learning about them.

Anyway, the first part seems to be a favourite around here. I didn't like it nor dislike it. I was curious about what would happen next but that's all. And for the second part, well, I found it tedious and I thought that I would never get past those pages and that nothing was really going to happen in this book (I'm happy I was wrong).

Also, I was wondering while I was reading whether this book was still an acceptable read at schools, given the violence in several scenes and the degree of animal abuse depicted in some chapters. It seems I'm not the only one concerned about it and I'm curious to read more of your opinions.


message 42: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Irene wrote: "I just finished reading all comments on this thread! Also, I have just finished White Fang earlier this morning.

I think the fifth (and last) part was my favourite, when White Fang has already bee..."


Glad you enjoyed the discussions and the book Irene! 😊


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I think that most school would still teach the book... it really varies by teacher and school district though. Parents around here worry more about any forms of sex in books.


message 44: by Matt (new)

Matt (mmullerm) I agree, Kelly. My daughter is reading Lord of the Flies for 8th grade English which of course is basically The Hunger Games for the previous generation, and White Fang is pretty tame compared to LOTF in my opinion.

I believe especially the nature aspect of White Fang would still resonate today if it is still taught.


message 45: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
I would hope that all classics are still being read and taught in schools. Although, I would hope that their reading lists are better than what I was advised to read in high school, which was barely nothing. Maybe that was a good thing because I've come to love and appreciate classics now.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I know that my husband teaches some classics, and that my kids had many while in HS.


message 47: by Skye (new)

Skye | 240 comments My children's school district did not really focus on classics; my son read Chaucer, but the translated version.


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