The Law of Life, by Jack London Essay

The Law of Life, by Jack London Essay

Length: 1309 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

What lengths should one go to in order to survive? This is a question which has challenged the human race for generations and to which no satisfactory answer exists. In the modern world, this issue is examined theoretically, but rarely confronts individuals, with the exception of the most destitute. However, in harsh environments and forbidding territories, this matter becomes very real and pressing. Nature pays no attention to the arbitrary emotions of man, demanding only the forfeiture of the sorrowfully short life granted to him. Many would argue that in order to delay the inevitable conclusion awaiting every man, humans must act upon their primal intuition rather than their emotions. Jack London’s “The Law of Life” includes this naturalistic viewpoint that human survival instinct drives individuals more than feelings or compassion. London shows this through his protagonist Old Koshkoosh’s past experiences and tribal upbringing, his view on life, and the actions of his family members.
Human instincts are characteristics or tendencies imbued in man at birth. They reflect the eons of experience which shape the human psyche. Man’s compassionate nature allows him to define his own personality and build relationships. Jack London believed, however, that in trying situations this desire for self-preservation supersedes emotional attachments. He showed this through both Old Koshkoosh’s tribal upbringing and his past experiences. While sitting in the snow and reminiscing about his childhood, Old Koshkoosh contemplated his existence, espousing the principles ingrained in him by a childhood in a home environment based upon the goal of survival. The narrator described Koshkoosh’s learned beliefs, writing, “But one task did nature set the...


... middle of paper ...


...ndon’s naturalistic views and their role in his literary work.
In Jack London’s “The Law of Life,” he illustrated his naturalistic belief that instincts are more dominant in the human mind than feelings or emotional attachments. He revealed this through the main character’s experiences and upbringing, his perception of life, and the actions of his family members. Many would disagree with Jack London’s viewpoints, arguing that love and compassion can vanquish survival instinct, even in the face of death. However, unless one is placed in an environment where the continuation of life is not guaranteed, London’s opinions cannot be challenged.



Works Cited

London, Jack. "The Law of Life." Children of the Frost. N.p.: Macmillan, 1902. N. pag. Rpt. in McDougal Littell Literature: American Literature. By Janet Allen et al. Evanston: McDougal Littell, 2008. 746-52. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Law of Life, by Jack London Essay

- What lengths should one go to in order to survive. This is a question which has challenged the human race for generations and to which no satisfactory answer exists. In the modern world, this issue is examined theoretically, but rarely confronts individuals, with the exception of the most destitute. However, in harsh environments and forbidding territories, this matter becomes very real and pressing. Nature pays no attention to the arbitrary emotions of man, demanding only the forfeiture of the sorrowfully short life granted to him....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Nature, Man]

Strong Essays
1309 words (3.7 pages)

Gold in the Yukon and Naturalism: Jack London’s Novella "The Call of the Wild"

- Imagine this: Gold was just discovered in the Yukon Territory of Canada, and many gold miners rush to the North to see if they can strike rich. However, in order to do so, they need big, strong dogs with warm coats to protect them from the biting cold. As a result, a dog from the sunny state of California is dog napped and taken to be sold to anyone who is willing to buy him. When the dog is sold, he is shipped to the cold North. As he gets out of the boat, a chilling wind runs past him and, he realizes that he isn’t in California anymore....   [tags: Jack London, Call of the Wild, Canada, ]

Strong Essays
1237 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about Jack London's To Build A Fire

- There are many authors in this world today. Some are known for classical writings of poetry, or hundreds and hundreds of books written by them. This author though was one who portrayed himself through dozens of short stories. His name is Jack London. Jack London is a writer who shows the conflict between Nature versus Man in his writings and supports this theme through his work, “To Build a Fire.” Jack was born on January 12, 1876 and died on November 22, 1916. He is best known for his nature novels depicting how nature can sometimes be so powerful that it overcomes man....   [tags: Writer Author Jack London Build Fire]

Strong Essays
1022 words (2.9 pages)

My Personal Response to The Call of the Wild by Jack London Essay examples

- My Personal Response to The Call of the Wild by Jack London The novel The Call of the Wild tells a story about how Buck, a domesdicated dog in the "sun-kissed" Santa Clara, managed to survive in the wilds of Klondike. Jack London conveyed many of his own ideas about living in this novel by telling readers what Buck went through to adjust to the harsh realities of life in the frosty North, where survival was the only imprerative. Throughout Buck's adjustment there were several turning-points which forced him to understand better of the rules of the wild world....   [tags: Jack London Call Wild]

Free Essays
1160 words (3.3 pages)

Jack London Essay example

- Jack London, an American author known for his thrilling adventure stories, showed the world that even an exciting story that takes place in exotic settings can include all the intricacies of great literature. This is seen in many of his stories with the implementation of symbolism, many times a recurring theme in his work. Also, London used many ideas of the day such as Darwinism and Spencerism in his writings in order to better portray his views. However, perhaps one of the most telling signs that London wrote good literature was through London's mastery of a rising literary movement known as naturalism....   [tags: Jack London Author Writer]

Strong Essays
1253 words (3.6 pages)

Death Of The Fittest By Jack London Essay

- 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....   [tags: Charles Darwin, Natural selection]

Strong Essays
1714 words (4.9 pages)

Thematic Analysis of Jack London's White Fang Essay

- Thematic Analysis of Jack London's White Fang White Fang, written by Jack London, is a wonderful adventure novel that vividly depicts the life of a wolf by the name of White Fang. Throughout the course of the novel, White Fang goes through numerous learning experiences as he interacts with humans and other wolves from Alaska around the turn of the century. Jack London uses the events that transpire during White Fang's life to illustrate that only the cunning, intelligent, and strong will be able to survive....   [tags: Jack London White Fang Essays]

Strong Essays
935 words (2.7 pages)

The Life and Writings of Jack London Essay

- 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....   [tags: Biography]

Strong Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

The Life of Jack London Essay

- Jack London was a standout amongst the most renowned American novelists of the twentieth century, and he remains universally prevalent even today. As a celebrity writer whose exercises were accounted for in the standard press, he showed an open persona that urged booklovers to see his acts as an expansion of his life, in which movement, enterprise, and composing appeared to be blended into equivalent extents. The various stories about which London composed guaranteed a feeling of realness for the perusing open in which they could accept what London said in regards to the solidified northern badlands of the Yukon Domain or the lives of mariners trapped on a fixing ship under a fierce captain...   [tags: american novelists, celebrity writer]

Strong Essays
1244 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about Jack London

- "I wrote a thousand words every day" Jack London is the name you can hear everywhere, his writing appealed to millions of people all around the world. London was an American novelist and short-story writer, who wrote passionately about questions of life and death, surviving. The writer had a lot of adventures, experienced the life at sea, or in Alaska, or in the fields and factories of California, all of these influenced his writing style. Jack London descended from the family of his mother Flora and astrologer and journalist William Chaney....   [tags: Biography]

Free Essays
1388 words (4 pages)