White Fang

The Fall into Futility: The Philosophy of Jack London Exposed in White Fang 10th Grade

“It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted, Northland Wild.” In this quote, American author Jack London establishes the key theme of his novel White Fang. Throughout this work, London seeks to portray his conception of nature, which is dark, ominous, and all-powerful. In order to convey this belief, he utilizes unique personification and symbolism, a wild setting, and particular vocabulary. Moreover, London reveals his belief that human life is infinitesimal when compared to the all-encompassing power of nature.

The very first paragraph of White Fang contains intense imagery, signifying its importance in conveying the theme of White Fang. Silence and desolation are key images in the opening paragraph. “A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness.”

It is crucial to analyze London’s portrayal of nature, as it contrasts with alternate depictions of nature in literature. For example, modernist poet Katherine Mansfield gives an entirely different depiction of nature in her poem, A Very Early...

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