Jack London And Individuality Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

The American theme of individuality shows itself in various ways, and through many aspects. Jack London, one of the most widely read American writers of the early 20th century, seeped individualism into all he came in contact with. His life, beliefs, and writings played a major role in him becoming a monument to individuality. To fully understand the levels of individuality London displayed, it is necessary to look at his background and previous actions that lead up to showings of individualism - such as the writing of his unique books - from different angles. After all, what seems individualistic to one person may appear as a mild action in human life to another.FROM JOB TO JOB Throughout his childhood and early teenage years, London had amazing life experiences that not many other Americans knew at the time. Jack London had to take on odd jobs as a child in order to support his family, who were on the move constantly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He delivered newspapers, helped the iceman make the rounds, cut lawns, trimmed hedges, and set up pins in a bowling alley before the age of ten. After more than a year of grinding labor London quit his job, which at the time was in a cannery, and became a part of Oakland's waterfront community by purchasing a sloop. What made Jack decide to stand up and quit his job, to work in the unsure seas none-the-less, can only be described as that American spirit of rebellion which makes the dreamers of our society so individualistic- they aren't afraid to try new things. Here he was at age 15, an illegal oyster pirate. Though he was young, he was accepted into this rough community. "The waterfront community dubbed him the Prince of the Oyster Pirates for his reckless bravery on the water and his ability to hold his liquor on land" (Baird Shuman 871). Although London would become a gold prospector in the Klondike, and a rancher, the jobs he had when young shaped his future most. (Alan Schroeder 27-34, Baird R. Shuman 871). The effect these jobs had on London helped open his eyes to the problems of capitalism, which would thus lead to his strong beliefs. It was rare to find among those who had been swallowed by the rut of everyday life a spirit who could view the system for what it was-unjust. "Young Jack London's exceptional brightness and his optimistic buoyant personality eventually combined to transform his many experiences into a working philosophy of service and survival" (Margie Wilson Internet). His work experiences in life were individualistic because of so much done so fast at such a young age-few exist that can say the same of their own childhoods (although it was much more common then than now).WATCHING THE WORLDLondon watched the world as much as he tried to change it. In 1902 he traveled to London, England, to conduct a sociological study of its East End slums. He believed that with the country's great wealth, no citizen of the British Empire should starve. "While King Edward...

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