Jack London was an American man of many talents, which included being an author, journalist and a social activist, despite being minimally educated. Nonetheless, he was undoubtedly most recognized for his short stories and novels that fixated on the harsh, cold climates that Mother Nature crafted. London focused on a deeper level of the wild and the literary devices in his work are littered throughout every one of his novels and short stories, including The Call of the Wild, White Fang, as well as “To Build a Fire.”
London’s actual name was John Griffith Chaney and he was born on January 12, 1876 in San Francisco, California. His mother, Flora Wellman, was unwed while his father, William Chaney, was a man of many trades, and he worked as an attorney, journalist, and also worked in the field of American astrology. London’s father was never permanent in his life and as a result, his mother married a man named John London, and the three moved to the Bay Area before they established themselves in Oakland. Jack was raised in a blue-collar, working-class family, but struggled throughout his teenage years because of the lasting impact of his father’s absence. As a result of his troubled childhood, London had a variety of jobs, comparable to his father, and he could never keep one for very long. From pirating oysters, working on a sealing ship in the Pacific to finding employment in a cannery, London’s undertakings did inspire him. Whenever London found any spare time, he would practice writing. His career in the writing world sparked in 1893, when his mother encouraged him to submit a story that was based off his adventures of surviving a typhoon on a sealing voyage, despite having only an eighth grade level education. A twenty-five dollar prize motivated London to commit his life to writing from that point onward. London published more than fifty books, as well as covering war stories.
Unfortunately, London has been viewed as an alcoholic and it skewed many people’s opinion on his writing. He had a lifelong addiction to alcohol, and he even published a memoir of his struggle with his poison of choice, called John Barleycorn. The novel focused on masculinity, and was certainly directed towards a male audience. As a result of his alcoholic dependence, London was diagnosed with kidney disease, which ended up taking his life on November 22, 1916 (“Jack”).
All of Jack London’s short stories and novels are bursting with literary devices. But there are three in particular, that are not only his most famous works but also carry the most literary weight. London’s novel, The Call of the Wild, was about the journey of a domesticated dog by the name of Buck. Buck was a mix of a St. Bernard and a sheepdog, and he was physically strong due to his breed. But when Buck is kidnapped and sold to dog traders, his entire life changes altogether and it challenges him mentally as well as physically. Throughout the novel, Buck is faced with enormous...