Jack London is famous for writing, since he was the most popular author of his time. The first book he wrote and actually published that wasn’t in a magazine was The Call of the Wild. With his like of wolves and Alaska, in 1904, a year after he published The Call of the Wild, he published Sea Wolf. Then in 1906 he published White Fang, another wolf novel. Before London published his first story, he published many other short stories in the news paper. London also submitted a tale he had from a Sea Voyage. He wrote a book for a contest, and he won the $25 prize, beating even college students. Jack was 17, with only an eighth grade education when he submitted for the contest. That simple contest was what started his author path.
London was born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco. He was raised in the city of Oakland, after his father left him and his mother. London’s mother married again, and the surname of his stepfather, London, he took as his own. Before that, London’s name was John Griffith Chaney. But after that his name was Jack London. His stepfather was a veteran of the Civil War.
When he was growing up he participated in many writing contests. He won first place in a writing contest and got $25. That was a lot for his time. $25 would have been $635.28 today.
The going history when he was growing up was the Second Industrial Revolution. Most Western countries experienced a large economic boom, due to railroads and other methods of traveling. He was born in 1876, just after the transcontinental railroad was complete.
London’s family was quite a mess when he was young, before when his stepfather was there. His dad decided he didn’t want to have the responsibility of a father, so he ran away and left Jack with his mother. When his stepfather was there, London delivered papers, worked on an ice wagon, and set up pins in a bowling alley, all while going to school. Almost all of the money he earned was given to his parents. At the age of thirteen he left school and continued to do jobs for his family. This is why he only had an eighth grade education.
London did go to college and high school, though. For high school he went to Oakland High school. Jack went to the University of California, Berkeley for college. In school he was best in writing.
In his Oakland High School, London’s transportation was only his bike. He rode 40 blocks every 5 mornings. His peers hated him since he always wanted to outshine everyone with his intelligence. His teachers admired him though. When school let out London would simply throw his book bag over his shoulders and pedaled home, eager to study.
London studied his mathematics and sociology, and read great amounts of literature such as Washington Irving, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Richard Henry Dana. London appreciated the importance of using a large vocabulary to write, and he had not yet chosen to become an author at this time.
Since London liked the use of vocabulary, he decided to memorize words every day. When he decided to write, he wanted his writing to jump, sing, and he wanted the reader to feel the sting of harsh rain or the smell of blubber from whales.
He accomplished being one of the best traditional literature authors of his time. He was internationally famous when he was 30 for The Call of the Wild, Sea Wolf, and other books he has written. The Call of the Wild, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1931. When London was writing and needed inspiration, he wouldn’t just wait for the inspiration, he’d go after it with a club. He would look at things in the world that was interesting and that inspired him and he’d use it in a story.
Such as White Fang. London dropped out of college and went to the Alaskan gold rush in 1897, where he got the idea of writing his first successful books. London wrote The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf because they were in the element of huskies and sled dogs he was in at the time, but he wrote them when he was home. When he got home London wrote about his trip on the Yukon River home, which was a painful journey since he was recovering from scurvy, and it was published in a magazine. London then wrote and published Call of the Wild after that.
He impacted California a ton by being an outstanding author of the time. London inspired young children and anyone who read his books to have an imagination. He sadly died on November 22, 1916, when he was 40. London died quite young.
FAMOUS QUOTES OF JACK LONDON:
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
“I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.”
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
“Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.”
“Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?”
“Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club.”
“The scab is a traitor to his God, his mother, and his class.”
“San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories.”
“I write for no other purpose than to add to the beauty that now belongs to me. I write a book for no other reason than to add three or four hundred acres to my magnificent estate.”
“Do you know the only value life has is what life puts on itself?”
“One cannot violate the promptings of one’s nature without having that nature recoil upon itself.”
“Life is so short. I would rather sing one song than interpret the thousand.”
“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”
“If cash comes with fame, come fame; if cash comes without fame, come cash.”