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Remembering Jack London on his Birthday

Post by: Kabita Sonowal








“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”


-    Jack London


Born as John Griffith Chaney and popularly known as Jack London was born on January 12, 1876. Synonymous with literary works such as The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Burning Daylight, Lost Face, South Sea Tales and The Leopard Man’s Story among others. He was a multi-faceted individual being a journalist, writer and a social activist.


London’s life was one that was far from hunky-dory. Born in San Francisco to an unmarried mother, Flora Wellman, the grapevine of those times gossiped that the astrologer, William Chaney was the father. Wellman was asked to undergo an abortion which she rejected and shot herself. As a result, she was impaired and after London’s birth, she gave him away to ex-slave Virginia Prentiss who played the role of his mother. When he was 21 and was studying at the University of California, Berkeley, he wrote to Chaney to find out if he was his biological father. When Chaney, replied in the negative, he quit his studies and began his life as a hobo and traveled to the Klondike region in Canada. His stories such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang are based on this region. He went on to maintain a large collection of books that he referred to as ‘the tools of my trade’.


Although mostly self-educated, London strongly believed that education was the way to enlightenment and achieving aspirations. His life and works reflect the power of will. His works outline his ideas on individualism and Darwinism. For a while, he was a sailor too. He settled at Sonoma in California where he died at forty.

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