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Jack London

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Jack London

Jack London is one of the most famous American writers. He wrote many great books over his short lifetime. Many of his stories are about animals and nature, which most people can relate to. Because of his great stories, he was able to be a financial success. London's books are read in most grade schools in America. To say that he was a great writer would be an understatement. Jack London, one of America's most famous writers, wrote the novel The Call of the Wild which contains many themes including the themes of: the double, myth of the hero, and survival of the fittest.

Jack London's life was short, but he accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Jack London was born in 1876 in San Francisco (Stasz pg. 1). He was an illegitimate son of an astrologer and a Welsh farm girl (London, Jack par. 1). His mother, Flora Wellman, married John London late in 1876 (Stasz pg. 1). According to David Hartzell, Jack London's early life was etched and scarred by poverty (pg. 1). His family moved around in order to find subsistence (pg. 1). They finally settled in Oakland where Jack was raised by his mother Flora, a music teacher and spiritualist, and by stepfather John London (Jack London - Biography and Works pg. 1).

At the age of 10, Jack sold newspapers to help his family make ends meet (Hartzell pg. 1). Also at the age of 10, he became an avid reader and borrowed books from the Oakland Public Library (Jack London - Biography and Works pg. 1). He quit school at the age of 14 and worked as a seaman, rode in freight trains as a hobo, and adopted socialistic views as a member of protest armies of the unemployed (Jack London - Biography and Works pg. 1). Over the next several years, he worked hard labor for ten cents an hour, twelve to fourteen hours a day, six or seven days a week (Hartzell pg. 1). After working in hard labor, he decided to travel to Alaska to try his hand at gold prospecting (London, Jack 1876-1916 par. 2). When he returned from his Alaska trip, he began to write (London, Jack 1876-1916 par. 2). Without having much formal education, London educated himself in public libraries, and at the age of 19 gained admittance to the University of California at Berkeley (Jack London - Biography and Works par 3). He didn't really like college, so he only stayed for a semester (London, Jack 1876-1916 par. 2). Jack did not have any education in writing and it took three years for him to get a story published (Hartzell pg. 2). His stories first began to appear in a magazine called Overland Monthly (London, Jack par. 1).

According to "Jack London - Biography and Works," he married Elizabeth Maddern in 1900, but left her and their two daughters three years later (pg. 1). He eventually married a lady by the name of Charmain Kittredge (pg. 2). In 1901, Jack London ran for mayor of Oakland as a member of the socialist party, but was not elected (pg. 2). He began to steadily produce novels, nonfiction works and short stories (pg. 2). London's first novel The Son of the Wolf, appeared in 1900 (pg. 2). His Alaska stories, The Call of the Wild and Burning Daylight, became very popular (pg. 2).

According to David Hartzell, Jack London became the highest paid and most popular writer of his time (pg. 2). He wrote about the great questions of life and death, the struggle to survive, and wove these ideas of high adventure based on his firsthand experiences in Alaska (pg. 2). As a result of his writing style, his stories appealed not to the few, but to the millions of people around the world (pg. 2).

In 1910, Jack London purchased a piece of property near Glen Ellen in Sonoma Valley, California, according to "Jack London - Biography and Works" (pg. 2). He devoted his energy and money to improving his place there, which he called Beauty Ranch (pg. 2). London was attracted to Sonoma Valley by its natural landscape and because it could be a place for him to escape everyday life (Hartzell pg. 2). His life took a drastic turn in 1913, his farm burned to the ground and the doctor told him that his kidneys were failing (Jack London - Biography and Works pg. 2). Late in life, he suffered from alcoholism and financial difficulties (London, Jack par. 1). He died on November 22, 1916, of kidney failure, according to "Jack London - Biography and Works" (pg. 2). There have also been speculations that London committed suicide by overdosing on morphine (pg. 2).

Jack London's life is summed up best by his credo:

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them, I shall use my time. (Hartzell pg. 1)

Jack London was a talented writer who was caught up in certain myths, which eventually destroyed him (Ludington pg. 1). London decided that natural laws govern everything, which is a big theme in many of his books (Ludington pg. 1). His book, The Call of the Wild, reveals London's sense of the awesome appearance of nature, which was sometimes harsh and always impressive (McEwen pg. 1). Brutality is not a characteristic of Jack London, and his humanitarian attitude includes animals (Woodward pg. 1). London wrote about three types of conflict in his books: man versus man, man versus nature, and man versus himself (McEwen pg. 1). Nature is often a grim force in Jack London's writings, and it plays no favorites (McEwen pg. 1). London's heroes and heroines are characters who survive the challenges of nature and society if they are strong, according to Townsend Ludington (pg. 2). If they are weak, they are defeated (pg. 2). It is clear that London loved to write about nature and ideas like survival of the fittest. By doing that, his books appealed to many people because they could relate to his books.

Jack London wrote many great books over his lifetime. One of his most famous novels is The Call of the Wild. The Call of the Wild is one of the most translated and published books written by an American author (Veggian pg. 1). The Call of the Wild is a story of a dog, raised in comfort in Southern California, according to J. Stewart Doubleday (pg. 1). The dog, Buck, is raised at the home of Judge Miller, where he lived in luxury (Stille pg.1). According to Kate Blackiston Stille, Buck is kidnapped and sold into the Klondike by the gardener's helper (pg. 1). Buck is beaten into submission, and for the first time, experiences fear (pg. 2). Buck is then broken to the sled on the desolate trail in Alaska (Doubleday pg. 1).

In The Call of the Wild, the hero is a



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