White Fang was developed by London as a sociological fable and embodies the author's theories of environmental determinism, and this is one of the reasons it stands as one of the author's most naturalistic works. For London, the organism is shaped by its environment, and pressed one way the individual can be considered civilized while pressed another, there can be a reversion to the wild state. London was influenced by the development of evolutionary theory in his time, specifically by the writings and reports of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer and by related thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx:
It might be said that London's very real private struggle with life--which he dramatized in stories so arresting and exciting that they are still read over the world--became for him an epitome of the Darwinian Struggle for Existence, his success an example of the Spencerian Survival of the Fittest (Walcutt 131).
White Fang is seen as a companion piece to another London novel, The Call of the Wild. In the first book, The Call of the Wild, the main character is a domestic dog that reverts to wolf; in the second book, White Fang, the main character is a wolf that is domesticated. In the process of change through which White Fang, three-quarters wolf, London deals with issues of class in terms of degrees of civilization. He refers to