The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories

By Jack London; Earle Labor et al. | Go to book overview

II The Bondage

THE clays were thronged with experience for White Fang. During the time that Kiche was tied by the stick, he ran about over all the camp, inquiring, investigating, learning. He quickly came to know much of the ways of the man-animals, but familiarity did not breed contempt. The more he came to know them, the more they vindicated their superiority, the more they displayed their mysterious powers, the greater loomed their god-likeness.

To man has been given the grief, often, of seeing his gods overthrown and his altars crumbling; but to the wolf and the wild dog that have come in to crouch at man's feet, this grief has never come. Unlike man, whose gods are of the unseen and the overguessed, vapors and mists of fancy eluding the garmenture of reality, wandering wraiths of desired goodness and power, intangible outcroppings of self into the realm of spirit--unlike man, the wolf and the wild dog that have come in to the fire find their gods in the living flesh, solid to the touch, occupying earth-space and requiring time for the accomplishment of their ends and their existence. No effort of faith is necessary to believe in such a god; no effort of will can possibly induce disbelief in such a god. There is no getting away from it. There it stands, on its two hind-legs, club in hand, immensely potential, passionate and wrathful and loving, god and mystery and power all wrapped up and around by flesh that bleeds when it is torn and that is good to eat like any flesh.

And so it was with White Fang. The man-animals were gods unmistakable and unescapable. As his mother, Kiche, had rendered her allegiance to them at the first cry of her name, so he was beginning to render his allegiance. He gave them the trail as a privilege indubitably theirs. When they walked, he got out of their way. When they called, he came. When they threatened, he cowered down. When they commanded him to go, he went away hurriedly. For behind any wish of theirs was power to enforce that wish, power that

-170-

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The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Note on the Text xxiii
  • Select Bibliography xxvi
  • A Chronology of Jack London xxvii
  • Contents 3
  • I - Into the Primitive 5
  • II - The Law of Club and Fang 15
  • III - The Dominant Primordial Beast 24
  • IV - Who Has Won to Mastership 37
  • V - The Toil of Trace and Trail 46
  • VI - For the Love of a Man 60
  • VII - The Sounding of the Call 73
  • Contents 91
  • Part One - The Wild 93
  • I - The Trail of the Meat 93
  • II - The She-Wolf 101
  • III - The Hunger Cry 110
  • Part Two - Born of the Wild 120
  • I - The Battle of the Fangs 120
  • II - The Lair 130
  • III - The Gray Cub 138
  • IV - The Wall of the World 143
  • V - The Law of Meat 153
  • Part Three - The Gods of the Wild 159
  • The Makers of Fire 159
  • II - The Bondage 170
  • III - The Outcast 178
  • IV - The Trail of the Gods 183
  • V - The Covenant 188
  • VI - The Famine 196
  • Part Four - The Superior Gods 204
  • I - The Enemy of His Kind 204
  • II - The Mad God 213
  • III - The Reign of Hate 221
  • IV - The Clinging Death 226
  • V - The Indomitable 237
  • VI - The Love-Master 243
  • Part Five - The Tame 256
  • I - The Long 256
  • II - The Southland 261
  • III - The God''s Domain 268
  • IV - The Call of Kind 278
  • V - The Sleeping Wolf 284
  • BÂtard 293
  • Moon-Face 309
  • Brown Wolf 315
  • That Spot 331
  • To Build a Fire 341
  • Explanatory Notes 358
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