Monday, August 17, 2009


So, once again you have my sincerest apologies. The end of summer this year has been a very busy one. My mother had surgery, my kids got sun poisoning, we have a foreign exchange student, we've had scout camp and family reunions and that's just in the last week and a half.

So I'm ready to read your thoughts on White Fang.

I don't have all my notes with me, but I know that in the beginning I was very disappointed with how "man eating" and violent it portrayed the wolves to be. My husband is a big fan of wolves and has studied them a lot. There are NO reports of wolves ever attacking humans unless they had rabies except in stories. I know that they were starving, but I don't think they'd have really acted as the book explained.

When I got to section 2 I liked the story a lot better. I loved the puppy point of view. But I disagreed with the statement that he would know nothing of God. I think animals now God a lot better than some of us humans.

I'll post more later when I have my notes and see some of your thoughts as well. Hope you've enjoyed your summer readings. Remember you have two books to choose from this month and next months poll is up now.

1 comment:

Sharon in KY said...

ShimmyMom, I feel my shoulders tensing just reading all that you are responsible for right now. Sometimes life comes in overpowering waves that tumble and roll us before leaving us breathless on the shore. I hope you get a time to rest soon.

This book I read aloud to my 13yo son. I was happy to share London's flowing use of our language.

We found a great example of how powerful a few well-chosen words can be: "A lynx's lair is not despoiled with impunity." At first my son said "What?" But as we went through it word by word, the fullness of its meaning came alive for him. (I think this would be a great sentence to use in copywork.)

Shimmy Mom, I also liked London's description of White Fang's puppyhood. It was a great reminder for me as a parent that my children feel curious, are drawn to explore, are often unsure of themselves, and they feel shame keenly. It reminded me of when I was a child, not being taken seriously, and even being laughed at by adults for being unable to know what only experience can teach. I kept a lot of things to myself for fear of that shaming. (Though looking back on it now, it probably wasn't considered as anything serious by the adults. They just thought I "was cute" trying to be "all grown-up". It hurt me though.)

Whether intended by London or not, when WF tracked Gray Beaver down and willingly submitted himself to him, I read in it our own willingness to give up our freedom in exchange for the promise of provision and protection. But once accepted from another's hand it is most difficult to take these responsibilities back upon ourselves.

WF's characterizations of "thieving god", "cowardly gods", etc. was funny. It reminded me of the gods of mythology, with their un-Godly ways.

In this description of Beauty, Paden and I both looked at each other, like "wow", at this intense imagery: "From the man's distorted body and twisted mind, in occult ways, like mists rising from malarial marshes, came emanations of the unhealth within."

Since I was reading this aloud I have to say it felt really good to shout out Mr. Scott's "YOU BEASTS!"

I love London's choice of "love-master" as WF's name for Weedon Scott. Though London was no god-fearing man, I think he provides a great allegory for how we are with God. God rescues us; we learn His laws and we learn to obey His voice. He protects us and provides for us. And we can snuggle into Him in total abandon and absolute trust. He is our "love-master".

The final chapter was unexpectedly exciting. As my son and I understood what was going to happen we kept pausing, not wanting to go on, not wanting to find WF had sacrificed his life for his love-master. Whew! We were both grateful for the happy ending.

Based on a biographical sketch I read about London, I believe he identified himself with the character of White Fang and his redemption by love. But the last chapter makes me think also that London feared how close he came to being a Jim Hall, cruelly shaped by society rather than rescued.

Sort of a hodge-podge of thoughts, but I hope you can see I enjoyed the story and enjoyed sharing it with my son.