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The Life And Writings Of Jack London

900 words - 4 pages

It appears that many famous people lived through a poor childhood. Jack London had an immensely rough childhood stricken with poverty and uncertainty, yet he is one of the most famous writers of the twentieth century. London’s lack of stability in his life and the various stages he lived through such as being a sailor, hobo, Klondike Argonaut, and self-made millionaire colored the pages of his writing.
Lack of stability in a child’s life can be a detrimental factor in a youth’s ability to succeed. London was an illegitimate child of an astrologer and Welsh farm girl (Jack London Encyclopedia of World Biography). Unfortunately, when London’s birth father received word of London’s conception, he fled. London’s mother, Flora Wellman, was stricken with Typhoid, a deadly disease that effected vast numbers of people in their day. Due to her sickness, she was unable to nurse her new son. Mrs. Virginia Prentiss was the wet-nurse they hired. Forlornly, she had recently lost her own child. Wellman half-heartedly married John London on September 7th 1876. It is thought that this marriage was for convenience more so than love since Jack London needed a fatherly figure and John London’s daughter (recently lost their mother) need a motherly figure in their lives. John was not able to support the family (financially) as needed, so London had to get a job early in life. He started with small part-time jobs and eventually worked his way up to a full-time job at West Oakland Cannery. London was considered a deprived youth (Jack London). “My body and soul were starved when I was a child,” explained London (Jack London). What London meant by saying his soul was starved as a child was that he didn’t have access to a great education. It wasn’t until later in his youth that he found out what a public library was for. London loved reading books and when he found out that he could check out books as fast as he could read them, it was like a miracle. “I always could read and write, and have no recollection antedating such a condition. Folks say that I simply insisted upon being taught” London once recalled (London). In addition to living in extreme poverty, London’s family also moved quite frequently. Daunting financial problems affected him his whole life. One of the most significant factors in London’s development was his conscious rejection of the occult, the supernatural, and the mystical- all of which he associated with his mother’s cold spirituality (Jack London). His childhood provided many topics which London could give first hand accounts on. He could write accurately about growing up without ‘T.L.C.’, growing up in poverty and loneliness in...

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