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Jack London

Essay by review  •  January 9, 2011  •  Study Guide  •  910 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,183 Views

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Scott O’Brien

Expository Report

"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 to exist.

I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.

I shall use my time"

This quote is a great example of how London loved to adventure and was a colorful celebrity. He did not spend all his time writing, but instead loved to kick back and have fun.

Jack London fought his way up out of the factories and waterfront drives of West Oakland to become the highest paid, most popular novelist and short story writer of his day. He wrote passionately and prolifically about the great questions of life and death, and the struggle to survive with dignity and integrity, he wove these elemental ideas into stories of high adventure based on his own firsthand experiences at sea, in Alaska, or in the fields and factories of California.

Considered by many to be America’s finest author, Jack London, whose name at birth was John Griffith Chaney, was born on Market Street in San Francisco, California, on January 12, 1876. Before Jack was born, his real father left his mother. As a young child, Jack loved to go out fishing in his small boat with his step-father.

Jack had little formal schooling. Initially, he attended school only through the 8th grade. In later years, Jack returned to high school in Oakland and graduated. He eventually gained admittance to U.C. Berkeley, but stayed only for six months because he said it was boring.

Jack’s extensive life experiences included: being a laborer, factory worker, oyster pirate on the San Francisco Bay, member of the California Fish Patrol, sailor, railroad hobo, and gold prospector in the Klondike from 1897-1898. These job experiences are believed to be where he got the plots and settings for most of his stories. Jack also uses repetitive imagery as a way to describe the setting and characters.

By following a strict writing regimen of 1,000 words a day, Jack was able to produce a huge quantity of high quality work over a period of eighteen years. Jack had become the best-selling, highest paid and most popular American author of his time. Fifty-one of his books, hundreds of short stories, and numerous articles were published. Some of his famous works have even been translated into over 70 different languages.

His most notable books include The Call of the Wild, which was published in 1903, The Iron Heel, White Fang, The Sea-Wolf, The People of the Abyss, John Barleycorn, Martin Eden, and The Star Rover. His short story, “To Build A Fire”, is considered to be an all-time classic.

He was a celebrity, had a colorful and controversial personality, and was often in the news. Generally fun-loving and playful, he could also be combative, and was quick to side with the underdog against injustice or oppression of any kind. He was a fiery and eloquent public speaker. Despite his avowed socialism, most people considered him a living symbol of rugged individualism.

Jack loved the ranch life. At Beauty Ranch (the name of his home and land), he raised many animals such as prize bulls, horses, and pigs. He cultivated a wide variety of crops, including forty acres of wine grapes. He also loved to sail and planned to sail around the world on a seven

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