Jack London | The Pastures of Heaven / to God Unknown / Tortilla Flat / in Dubious Battle / of Mice and Men | The Grapes of Wrath / the Long Valley / the Log from the Sea of Cortez / the Harvest | The Moon Is Down / Cannery Row / the Pearl / East of Eden | The Call of the Wild and White Fang | San Francisco Stories | To Build a Fire, and Other Stories
Whether he is recollecting, in The Road, the exhilarating camaraderie of hobo gangs, or dramatizing, in Martin Eden, a life like his own, even to the foreshadowing of his own death at age forty, or confessing his struggles with alcoholism in the memoir John Barleycorn, London displays a genius for giving marginal life the aura of romance. Violence and brutality flash into life everywhere in his work, both as a condition of modern urban existence and as the inevitable reaction to it.
Though he is outraged in The People of the Abyss by the condition of the poor in capitalist societies, London is even more appalled by their submission, and in the novel he wrote immediately afterward, The Call of the Wild (in the companion volume, Novels and Stories), he constructed an animal fable about the necessary reversion to savagery. The Iron Heel, with its panoramic scenes of urban warfare in Chicago, envisions the United States taken over by fascists who perpetuate their regime for three hundred years. It constitutes London’s warning to his fellow socialists that mere persuasion is insufficient to combat a system that ultimately relies on force.
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