Death Of The Fittest By Jack London Essay

Death Of The Fittest By Jack London Essay

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Today’s century is different from all other centuries in many ways, but the main being nature. Today people don’t worry about natures effects on us. We have science, technology, and shelter. Three things that save us from whatever nature decides to bring. Therefore nature is just something beautiful to look at through a camera and we don’t even consider nature being something that can decide our fate. But what if we didn’t have our technology, science, and shelter? Would nature be so kind? In Jack London’s stories “Law of Life” and “To Build a Fire”, London argues that nature as a force that doesn’t care about the laws that humanity has built. He writes nature so that it uses Charles Darwin’s natural selection and Herbert Spencer’s “survival of the fittest” as an inevitability when choosing its survivors. London has a value of realism to his stories because of his own life experiences and because of the application from the works he read into his own stories.
In “Law of Life” London uses more of Herbert’s “survival of the fittest” and acceptance of death. The main character, Koskoosh, is an elderly man who is nearing death. His tribe follows a tradition to leave him alone in the forest with enough wood to keep a fire until it is time for his death. Koskoosh felt loved by his family for keeping tradition and accepted his fate. He did not fight it or try to continue with his tribe. As he sat and waited for death, Koskoosh began to think of old memories he had. London uses Koskoosh’s memories as a way to foreshadow his coming fate. Koskoosh thought of a time where he had seen a moose that was left behind by his pack and followed by wolves. The moose had put up a good fight, but in the end lost to the wolves. The memories of the wolv...


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...be determined to have influenced some of his writing and decisions on “To Build a Fire”. London used these studies and his research on them to include realism into his stories. The big question that was asked in the beginning was if nature would be so kind to us if we didn’t have modern conveniences. After reading both of London’s stories “To Build a Fire” and “Law of Life”, and seeing his background in research of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, along with his experiences in the Yukon that can connect realism to his stories, it can be said that London doesn’t believe that nature would be so kind to us. As you can see in both stories by the events that happen and the demise of each character, London would also argue that we have become too weak and accustomed to modern civilization, and that we should embrace our natural animalistic origins to survive in nature.

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