Biography on Yukon Jack

Essay by blingyHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

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The short lived life of Jack London is a direct reflection of his literary works major theme, the struggle for survival of strong men driven by primitive emotions. "To Build A Fire" and White Fang are two of his works that coincide his life experiences and illustrate his literary theme.

London was born the illegitimate son of W.H. Chaney and Flora Wellmen in 1876. He never saw his biological father and his mother had little to do with him. Eight months after his birth, his mother married a man named John London. This is where Jack received his name. Even with his new family, that included two step-sisters, Jack still received little time or love from them. "He claimed to have felt that he was a boy without a boyhood" (Marshall 749). In "To Build A Fire," a man is on a journey through the Yukon.

He takes this journey alone, and therefore must face all challenges alone. This is much like the childhood of Jack London. London had to accept all challenges and obstacles in his childhood alone, because his family was not there to support him. Both Jack London and the man in "To Build A Fire" are in control of their own destiny. As it turns out for the man in "To Build A Fire," he faces his death because of his solitude.!

London may be implying that if he had someone to guide him through the early stages of life, he might have turned out to be a more fulfilled and successful person. By the age of twenty-three, London had held a numerous variety of jobs. He had been everything from a newsboy to an oyster bed pirate. He even bummed his way through the United States.