Jack London and Individuality

Essay by frankie123High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2005

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The American theme of individuality shows itself in various ways, and through many aspects. Jack London, one of the most widely read American writers of the early 20th century, seeped individualism into all he came in contact with. His life, beliefs, and writings played a major role in him becoming a monument to individuality. To fully understand the levels of individuality London displayed, it is necessary to look at his background and previous actions that lead up to showings of individualism - such as the writing of his unique books - from different angles. After all, what seems individualistic to one person may appear as a mild action in human life to another.


Throughout his childhood and early teenage years, London had amazing life experiences that not many other Americans knew at the time. Jack London had to take on odd jobs as a child in order to support his family, who were on the move constantly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

He delivered newspapers, helped the iceman make the rounds, cut lawns, trimmed hedges, and set up pins in a bowling alley before the age of ten. After more than a year of grinding labor London quit his job, which at the time was in a cannery, and became a part of Oakland's waterfront community by purchasing a sloop. What made Jack decide to stand up and quit his job, to work in the unsure seas none-the-less, can only be described as that American spirit of rebellion which makes the dreamers of our society so individualistic- they aren't afraid to try new things. Here he was at age 15, an illegal oyster pirate. Though he was young, he was accepted into this rough community. "The waterfront community dubbed him the Prince of the...