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The Call Of Jack London

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During a time when man had gold fever, and

philosophical views plagued the minds of many, one man took

these views and turned them into great outdoor adventures.

John “Jack” Griffith London, a twentieth century author,

wrote The Call of the Wild, other novels, and short stories

that depict the philosophical views of the time and added

adventure to them by using his own life experiences that

carried thousands of men including himself to the Klondike

in search of gold.

In Winter 1876 San Francisco John and Flora London

shared the joy of childbirth in the celebration of their

only child together. They named the baby boy John Griffith

London, or Jack for short. He became the twelfth child of

his father, for through his first marriage he had eleven

children. Jack London’s family was stricken by poverty.

His father had many trades, however worked mainly in truck

gardening(McCracken 370). After Jack’s graduation from

grammar school, which he attended in Oakland, Jack read many

novels, mainly ones about romance, travel, and adventure.

He took many odd jobs to make ends meet(Comptons Interactive


Jack had ambitions for a life at sea. At age fifteen

Jack London bought a boat of his own, called Razzle Dazzle.

He became an oyster pirate, sailing the San Francisco Bay

robbing oyster beds and becoming a heavy drinker. Jack had

many hard times. He spent some time as a hobo and spent

some time in prison. At the age of nineteen he entered high

school. Hard work enabled him the privilege of attending

The University of California at Berkley. Less than a year

passed and he gave up school to try and support his family

and persue a writing career. He did not sell any of his

work(Kunitz and Haycraft 844).

He joined the gold rush to the Klondike in the summer

of 1897. The group stopped along the Yukon near about the

Stewert River for winter. London became vary ill with

Scurvy and was forced south for survival. Upon his re entry

to San Francisco Jack learned of his fathers death. He

could not find work of any kind, so once again he tried his

hand at writing. His first writing, a story about life on

the Yukon, was accepted by a magazine called Overlan…

…ty. This is

illustrated in a quote from the book, “His cunning was wolf

cunning…his intelligence, shepherd intelligence and St.

Bernard intelligence.”(London) “London’s unusual subject

allows him to see virtues in return to an aboriginal state

that could not be found if humans were the subject.”(Magill

1148) He also uses the literary element of contrast to

bring effect to his novel. For instance when “Buck is at

his most savage he is also most completely fulfilling his

potential utulizing his brain, muscles, and heart to the

utmost.”(Magill 1148)

Jack London had a life full of ups and downs . He used

ideas of philosophy that affected the world to inspire all

of his writings as well as the ideas of his own experiences

and of the great adventures celebrated in the age of time.

He used ideas of Charles Darwin, racial hierarchy, and the

American Credo of success to inspire his writings. Once he

tried to make it to Alaska himself, so he was able to use

some of what he experienced to add realistic adventure to

his stories. All elements of his life and his era helped

make him one of the greatest adventure writers of the


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