As autumn arrives, White Fang takes advantage of the tribe's movement to a new camp to escape. He soon finds, however, that "bondage had softened him." He shivers from the cold; he suffers from hunger; he experiences fear and loneliness. Wounded and nearing exhaustion, White Fang tracks down the natives. When he finds Gray Beaver, he expects to receive another beating, but does not. Instead, Gray Beaver feeds him. White Fang's surrender to the humans is complete.
White Fang's short-lived flight to freedom really only establishes how much in bondage to Gray Beaver he is. He no longer belongs to the Wild; although he can still be ferocious (before
he leaves camp, at any rate), he has been thoroughly domesticated, as London makes clear at the chapter's end: "White Fang lay at Gray Beaver's feet. secure in the knowledge that the morrow would find him. in the camp of the man-animals, with the gods to whom he had given himself and upon whom he was now dependent." At this point in the story, then, White Fang's relationship to human beings is based on his need for their food and shelter. Later in the novel, readers will see how his relationship to humanity changes in order to include another essential ingredient for survival: his need to be loved.