The World: as Jack London Sees It

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  • Topic: Life, The Sea-Wolf, Organism
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  • Published : May 28, 2008
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The World: As London Sees It
The world as a conscious being stupefies some, as it is an awesome thought that many people ponder. The thought of the universe as a thing that picks and chooses who lives and dies terrifies some, while some welcome the idea and coexist with it. Jack London, the author of such books as The Call of the Wild, and The Sea Wolf, is one such man who lives with the idea. London views the world as a Darwinist, or with the theory of natural selection. He sees the world with a sense of cold reality, where the strongest must fight and thrive to keep a place in the world. Jack London uses simile and metaphor to describe the cold reality that the world is a harsh place to live in. London conveys how he feels about the world by connecting to people through the use of his literature, in The Sea Wolf London says, “Life is a piggish existence”(81). London uses pigs as a metaphor for life because life is dirty, and in some instances must eradicated in order for one organism to progress its own existence. These pigs also connect with the sluggishness that life carries with it. Life transforms beings into what they need to be to survive, otherwise they cannot progress existence out of stagnancy. London allies this situation in The Call of the Wild when Francois says, “ Dat Buck he’m fight lak the devil”(19). Buck fights the way he needs to fight, and he fights a product of nature. The universe transforms buck into what he became. This simile shows that London feels that organisms are born of nature, not nurture. London uses different literary tools other than simile and metaphor, like syntax symbols and, to show life as cold and selective. Though London uses the devices in his own way, because he is “A writer untouched by bookishness”(Edward W. Pritcher). London not only uses a wide selection of words, but also arranges them in syntactic perfection. London says, “The world is run by the law of club and fang.”(14). The way London puts this natural law of the world reverberates through the soul and shows how good a writer he is as well as the natural order of the world. This law is in one simple phrase, sums up how London feels the world is run. This law revels the true psychology of a genius. This law is the meaning of evolution. The club beats the fang so the fang must not try to overcome, until the fang can become strong enough to do so, but fate does not care if the club beats the fang, or vise versa. Either way fate continues unimpeded. In The Sea Wolf, Humphrey Van Weydon feels some of this neglect when he reminisces on his knee injury, “ I had injured my knee and yet the I gained no sympathy from the hunters.” (57). The hunters in the text symbolize the cold uncaring world that people inhabit, because hey live their own lives and go the way they need to go. The hunters live with out many of the modern conveniences of the day, symbolizing the simplicity of life and the absolute basic needs: food and sleep. The hunters live their lives separate of all things, the other crewmembers as well as each other. Even though life lives independently of all other things it still manages to inadvertently throw things at people to interrupt life. When that happens though one must fight to bring life back to equilibrium. Humphrey, of The Sea Wolf laments about the one thing that truly challenges his life, “For the first time in my life I truly wanted to kill a man”(123). Thomas Mugridge is the only thing that defies Van Weydon’s right to live. London uses the cook, Thomas Mugridge to show what one must do when an outside force tries to impede one’s progression of them self. Survival must be the ultimate concern of some thing, because that is the only thing that an organism has in the world its own existence. One must be able to do things to ensure its survival, which includes interpreting the natural laws of the Earth in a special ways. Buck from Call of The Wild has to break these rules in order to maintain his...
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