Jack London's War

Topics: Fiction, Short story, Character / Pages: 5 (1016 words) / Published: Nov 7th, 2016
What would a story be without setting? Although it is not the primary factor in literature, it creates and develops the story’s plot, character, and many other literary elements. The setting of Jack London’s “War” is pivotal to the story’s plot and theme. “War’ follows the route of a military scout in the midst of war through rural lands. It is such writing with unspecified location and a unspecified setting- that is, the time and place- that subtly compel the reader to recognize how commonplace war is and has been since the beginning of mankind when they are unable to use the setting to deduce when and where the story is. In the short story “War”, Jack London works to express this theme. The short story “War” by Jack London expresses the …show more content…
The details provided reinforce the theme and characterization just as much as shown in “War”. In many of London’s writings, the setting is a character itself in both stories as they actively play large roles in the plot and fate of the stories. For example, London presents a naive newcomer believing he is prepared to take on the subarctic conditions in one of his other short stories called “To Build a Fire”. An analysis of it from Exploring Short Stories states “The setting denotes the time and place of a story as well as the social circumstances of the characters…[The newcomer’s] inexperience and lack of imagination do not allow him to prepare for the brutal cold.” (“To Build a Fire”). The setting here is presented to slowly weaken the main character and eventually does lead to his demise, while the setting of “War” stops the main character from killing the enemy soldier. The analysis shows how the setting in the author’s other writing is used to support its theme of man vs nature, parallel to the setting’s usage in “War”. Likewise, in “War”, London uses the presence of the stream in the rural setting to play a large role in the scout’s ultimate demise. When at the stream, the scout first sees the rival soldier yet is sensitized to the other’s vitality by the soldier’s humane action of simply getting water. In that moment, he identifies himself and the other man as …show more content…
It emphasizes to the reader the many battles that have occurred throughout the history of mankind, and that the setting cannot be pinpointed because of it. In all, the story prompts the reader to consider the recurrent acts of war, as was London’s intention. It ultimately carries an anti-war motif that London stresses in his subtle omissions in setting description and in writing

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