Chapter 5 or white fang
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In context, the word would mean the air was ripped or lacerated by the rifle fire. This is an example of personification, as the air cannot literally be ripped by rifle fire.
But when, one morning, the air was rent with the report of a rifle close at hand, and a bullet smashed against a tree trunk several inches from One Eye's head, they hesitated no more, but went off on a long, swinging lope that put quick miles between them and the danger.