Here are some samples. For more, please check out the links below.
"Jack London was a prolific writer; over the period from 1899 until his death in 1916, he wrote 50 books and over 1,000 articles. Though he was made most famous by his stories of the Klondike, he wrote on subjects ranging from boxing to romance, from survival in the Arctic to labour strife in Australia. He led a harsh, erratic life; born illegitimate, raised as a poor "work beast", constantly questing after every adventure and all the knowledge the world might offer, he died young as a result. The fact that his gift for writing was ever realized came to be used as an example of "The American Dream"; London roseout of the lower depths of American society, out of the social and economic abyss where art, thought and rebellion are all but unknown, where the primal struggle for survival absorbed the energy, ambition and creativity that produced art and speculative thought in the more favoured classes (Powers, 1975, vii)
London's rough view of the world changed dramatically as he studied the works of Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Herbert Spencer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, and uncounted others; by carefully sorting through his works, it is possible to trace his emotional and literary development through the characters in his stories and the way they react with their environment.
Sorting through London's stories and articles to find the philosophical roots is a daunting task, but the vitality and variety of his narratives ensures that the search is never boring; Howard Lachtman describes London as "...a born teller of tales who wrote as he lived - in a hurry. The writer, like the man, was a creature of force and eloquence, pulsing with enthusiasm or indignation."
"The Cruise Itinerary
Jack and Charmian London were determined to circumnavigate the globe on a yacht of Jack's design. The extensive itinerary of the cruise was planned for a leisurely seven years. The Snark had been designed small to permit inland trips. When it entered the rivers, the masts would be lowered and the engine would take over. There would be canals of China, and the Yang-tse River. They would go up the Nile, to Vienna by the Danube, up the Thames to London, and up the Seine to Paris, where they would moor opposite the Latin Quarter with a bow - line out to Notre Dame and a stern - line fast to the Morgue. Leaving the Mediterranean, they would go up the Rhone to Lyons, there enter the Saone, cross from the Saone to the Marne through the Canal de Bourgoyne, and from the Marne enter the Seine at Le Harve. After crossing the Atlantic, they would go up the Hudson, pass through the Erie canal, and go down the Mississippi by way of the Illinois River and the connecting canal, and go down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico."
"Jack London dropped out of school at the age of fourteen, and worked at a series of low-paying sweatshop jobs until he was sixteen, when his adventures began. London's exploits during the years 1892 and 1893 are part of the London legend: oyster pirate, fisheries patrolman, seal hunter in the North Pacific, rail-riding hobo, and hard-drinking dockhand. In 1894, during America's worst depression until that time, he traveled across the United States and Canada on the rails; the impact of that journey, "during which he saw the pains and disorders of American society in one of its most disturbing crises, cannot be underestimated. [He saw] for the first time that society was badly put together" (Walker,1978: 31). In April 1896, he joined the Socialist Labour Party, and very soon became a regular speaker for them.
By the spring of 1897, London had decided that society would not drag him down and force him to spend his life slaving as a "work beast"; he would become a writer. He later said of that period: "never was there a creative fever such as mine from which the patient escaped fatal results." He wrote fifteen hours a day, composing everything from "ponderous essays and ... short stories... to elephantine epics in Spenserian stanzas" (Walker,1978: 40).
In July 1897, only twelve days after the Excelsior landed with the first word from the gold-laden Klondike, he and his brother-in-law joined the mad exodus to "the frozen North"; he was about to find his literary niche.
Jack London had a talent for rapid, intimate perception of his physical surroundings. The scenes in his stories of the Klondike were developed from what he saw and heard during his one winter at Split-Up Island, at the mouth of the Stewart River. His story plots came from rumours, bar-room tales, newspaper clippings, story plots purchased from other writers, and self-admitted "modification" of other writers' works, including those of Rudyard Kipling and Joseph Conrad (Calder-Marshall,1966). In London's stories, the Klondike became "not only a real country, but a territory of the mind" (Lachtman,1984: 13), in which his characters lived or died because of what they had inside them; in this, London was "a saga writer to a nation of emotional frontiersmen, who had reached the Pacific Ocean, only to find unemployment as acute there as further east" (Calder-Marshall,1966: 9).
It is often said that London's characters lack depth (ie Powers,1975), but that seems an unfair criticism. While it is true that much of his "hack-work" suffers from superficial character development, his best work reaches deeply into his characters' hearts, sometimes in the form of anthropomorphism, as with Buck, the dog-hero in The Call of the Wild. The allegoric use of Buck to represent the struggle of all working-class people to maintain their dignity is often commented on.
Although Jack London was famous as an action-writer, he was a master at describing the physical sensations of slow death. His descriptions in The White Silence are vivid enough to put a shiver down the spine of anyone who has traveled through the Northern wilderness in the depths of winter:
Nature has many tricks wherewith she convinces man of his finity - the ceaseless flow of the tides, the fury of the storm, the shock of the earthquake, the long roll of heaven's artillery - but the most tremendous, the most stupefying of all, is the passive phase of the White Silence. All movement ceases, the sky clears, the heavens are as brass; the slightest whisper seems sacrilege, and man becomes timid, affrighted at the sound of his own voice. Sole speck of life journeying across the ghostly wastes of a dead world, he trembles at his audacity, realizes that his is a maggot's life, nothing more.
Death is a common theme in London's work; Arthur Calder-Marshall (1966: 17) states that London "was always very much in love with death," and his descriptions make it obvious that he spent a great deal of time thinking about the subtleties and progressions of various ways of dying. He had some degree of first-hand knowledge of the matter from an early age, having barely survived drowning after attempting suicide by swimming to exhaustion in San Francisco Bay while drunk at the age of sixteen (Sinclair,1977: 12). Most of the action in To Build A Fire concerns itself with the slow process of freezing to death at 75 degrees below zero. Interestingly, London never gives his protagonist in that story a name, and Walker (1978: 257) suggests that that anonymity may have been intended to personalize for all readers the starkness of the struggle with nature." In The Call of the Wild, the death-cry of the rabbit that Spitz kills is reverently described as "the cry of Life plunging down from Life's apex in the grip of Death."
Answered By: johnslat - 1/13/2007