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illegitimate child Yukon Jack

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.

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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.  In 1897, he traveled to Canada to try his luck in the Yukon Territory gold rush.  This is the motivation behind his 1906 novel, White Fang.  White Fang Centers around the ability of a man, through love and kindness, to tame a savage wolf, and turn it into a loyal domestic animal.  This may not be relevant when talking about the relationship between Londons life and the novels theme.  What is relevant though, is that the story did take place in the Yukon, a place where London had been during his life.  The story contains struggles of mans survival against nature, maybe Londons own survival against nature.  London could also be portraying his survival against life in general.
During the same time period, London had evolved a working philosophy from Karl Marx, Herbert Spencer, and Friedrich Nietzsche which explained the world of his experiences to his own satisfaction.  These experiences persuaded him to join the Socialist Labor Party and crusade for workers rights (Kennedy 118).  Even though London claimed to be a socialist, he contradicted his belief in socialism with his individualistic notion of the survival of the fittest.  In the short story To Build A Fire, London shows us what happens to the weak.  The man freezes to death and the dog survives.  London maybe using this story to expand on his survival of the fittest belief.  In order for a man to survive the potentially blizzard cold temperatures of the Yukon, he must not only be in top physical
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condition, he must also be equally fit psychologically.  The dog in To Build A Fire had both, a physical conditioning and a mental instinct, something London saw in himself.  The man in the story experiences regret for not following the advice given to him earlier, but the dog presses on  without regret or pity for the man, the same way London treats life.
London began writing in early adulthood.  He found it was the easiest way for him to make money.  His literary apprenticeship  was comparatively short.  He started by writing for a local newspaper in San Francisco, and before long the entire country took a liking to his work.  London had published his first book, The Son of the Wolf, in 1900.
Also in 1900, London married his first wife, Bessie Madden.  In 1903 he had left her and his daughters to marry Charmian Kittredge.  Shortly after their marriage, London had left his second wife.  London had always longed for a ... more

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Eve s apology

Aemilia Lanyer uses irony and sarcasm in her poem, "Eve's Apology in Defense of Women".  She uses sarcasm to address the issue of female inequality, and uses imagery and ironic undertones to make the poem effective.  
In the first stanza, Lanyer begins the poem with an image of women being equal with men and at times even better.  She states that Pilate should have listened to his wife when she asked him to spare her savior, Jesus' life.  Lanyer is establishing the theme of defending women because she is putting Pilate's wife in a holier and more esteemed position than him.   She begged for "her Saviour's life" (8), and yet, Pilate did not take her advice, and opted instead to have nothing to do with it, which was more cowardly than what his wife would have done.
She continues this theme into the next stanzas using the fall of Adam and Eve to defend women.  Lanyer plays on the age-old idea; men are stronger and superior to women.  Therefore, if women are weak, she argues it is in fact men who are more at fault for the fall of humankind because it should have been expected for women to succumb to the power of temptation.  Adam's acceptance of the fruit is inexcusable because he is supposedly stronger than Eve and should have been able to resist her temptation.  "What weakness offered, strength might have refused, Being lord of all, the greater was his shame…For he was lord and king of all the earth, Before poor Eve had either life or breath" (35-36, 39-40).  This statement is ironic because Lanyer does not believe that women are weak or that men are stronger.  She goes on to chide Adam for "lay(ing) the fault on Patience' back" (49) and wonders why women must put up with the stigma attached with being held responsible for the fall of humankind.  It wasn't that he was "persuaded" (54) by Eve to eat the apple, it was that he lacked discretion.  Lanyer gives the idea that Eve was betrayed by the serpent's "falsehood" (55), but because Adam is superior to Eve, he was not betrayed by the serpent, rather he chose to eat of the apple.  Eve's only fault is that she wished to give a gift to her "dear" (58), however, he had the strength to decline the offering and did not.
Lanyer questions in the next stanzas why it is that Eve is still at fault for the fall of mankind (when we have found that Adam should be at fault anyway) when Pilate condemned God's own son, Jesus Christ, to death.  Eve succumbed to the serpent out of her weakness, but Pilate betrayed Jesus out of malicious intent.  Lanyer queries why it is that Eve's sin, which is so small in comparison to Pilate's condemnation of Jesus, is to be the source of all mortal sins, but Pilate's is far more severe.
The proclamation, "Then let us have our liberty again" is a direct statement by Lanyer addressing all men.  She asks them to quit condemning women as the essential root of evil, and she challenges them to quit claiming themselves as dominant over women, "and challenge to yourselves no sovereignty" (82).  She continues that all men have come into the world through "our pain" (83), the pain of their mothers, and that men are cruel because although they are brought into the world through the pain of their mothers, yet they still consider women as inferior to men.  The fault of man was greater than that of woman, therefore, why are men so opposed to being equal to women, when in fact they should be happy to not suffer oppression because of the greater sin.  She ends this imagery by telling men that if they hold all women responsible for mortal sin because of the fault of "one weak woman" (87) then, the sin committed by Pilate should prove that men who consider themselves superior to women are inexcusable.  For men to feel that they are somehow better than women, the bearer's of all children who endure suffering to give them life, it is a sin because they are suppressing their own ... more

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  • L: Yukon Jack L: Yukon Jack Yukon Jack 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 marr...
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