With the turn of the year, the gold-rushers are "as mad to get to the Outside as they had been originally to get to the Inside," and Weedon Scott is among those planning to leave. He intends, reluctantly, to leave White Fang behind, believing that the wolf-dog will never be able to adapt to life in civilized California. White Fang, however, can sense his master's intentions, and returns to his grief-stricken behavior of refusing to eat. Finally, Scott relents, and takes White Fang home with him.
This chapter reintroduces the theme of intelligence and reason. The chapter yields "indisputable evidence" (to borrow the text's words, from another context) that White Fang is, so to speak, being "re-humanized"-that is, he is recovering from the irrational ferocity to which Beauty Smith had reduced him.
In this respect, the chapter serves as a reversal of IV.4, for the present chapter makes numerous references to White Fang's capacity to think: for instance, "White Fang had already sensed [Scott's impending departure]. He now reasoned it"; and Matt's comment, "I'm blamed if I can see how he works it out." Work it out White Fang does, however, demonstrating that he is, in fact, capable of adapting to civilization (as the subsequent chapters will further illustrate). As Scott gave White Fang a chance in IV.5, so he gives him another chance here by taking him back to California.