English Composition II
16 February 2014
The Life of Jack London
Jack London was an American writer and journalist and a huge supporter and activist for socialism. London had several widely popular novels including The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea Wolf. London’s writing career was not just given to him, he faced many hardships, but worked hard to become a successful writer.
On January 12, 1876 Flora Wellman gave birth to John Griffith Chaney, Better know as Jack London, in San Francisco California, she was not married at the time (“Jack London Biography” 1). London’s mother suffered a life of illness and was left unable to take care of him, instead Virginia Prentiss, a former slave, took care of him for the first eight months of his life. London’s father, William Chaney, was an attorney, journalist, and an astrologist. His father never was a significant part of his career or life (Stasz 1).
London’s mother married John London, who had fought in the Civil War. John London moved his family, Including Jack London, throughout San Francisco before finally moving them to Oakland (1). In Oakland, at age 5, London started helping his step father with the laborious job of farming.
At age fourteen London graduated from grammar school. His family could not afford to send him to high school so he started working at a canning factory in Oakland. London spent countless hours working at very demanding job (1). In London’s free time he would be at the library reading novels and books about travel, his reading was inspired by the local librarian (“Jack London Biography” 1).
His love for reading made him realize that there was an entire world outside of his hometown in Oakland, he wanted to escape, which he did through drinking. This began his lifelong battle with alcohol (Stasz 1). His drinking problem, however, connected him to people that worked out at sea. He soon took a job as an Oyster pirate in the San Francisco Bay where he would steal oysters from farms (1).
London’s career of writing began around 1893 when he was working as a seal hunter when a typhoon had nearly killed him (“Jack London Biography” 1). When he came back home he told his mother about the things that had happened to him. She convinced London, who was 17 at the time, to write the story down and submit it to a writing contest she had found in a local newspaper (1). London submitted his story and won first place and received a 25 dollar award, he had only an eighth-grade education at the time and his story beat out college student’s stories from top colleges in the country(1).
This inspired London and made him want to dedicate his life to writing, however, London had trouble finding people that were willing to publishing his stories (“Jack London Biography” 1). He then enrolled at a college in California where he briefly attended before moving to the Yukon in 1897 to take part in the gold rush that was happening there (1).
In 1898 London...