Jack London

Naturalistic Author

Study Guide

Jack London has been America's most widely translated author. We find his work in 50 foreign languages.


Because his stories' characters have no names but cosmic implications, they are considered to be universal.


Define cosmic: of or relating to the universe or outer space.


Man faces three forces in "To Build a Fire." What are they?


a. cosmic-- nature

b. human-- himself

c. bestial-- dogs

Extra Notes

Jack London was born January 12, 1876 in San Francisco, California. He was born John Griffith Chaney. His father was not apart of his life. His step-father name was John London.


By age 30 he was internationally famous for his books Call of the wild (1903), The Sea Wolf (1904), and other literary and journalistic accomplishments.


In 1900 he married Bess Maddern. They had two daughters, Joan and Bess. He divorced Bess in 1905 and married Charmia Kittredge, whom he was with the rest of his life.


On November 22, 1916, 40 year old Jack London died of gastrointestinal uremic poisoning at his California ranch. He had been suffering from a variety of ailments, including a kidney condition, but up to the last day of his life he was full of bold plans and boundless enthusiasm for the future.