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The Law of Life
Transcript of The Law of Life
-Jack London's story takes place in the Northwest.
-The story is set near the Klondike region of Yukon, which is in northwest Canada
-Jack London was born as John Griffith Chaney on January 12, 1876, in California, San Francisco.
- During his childhood, he was a juvenile delinquent and an oyster pirate.
- Later, he joined the State Fish Patrol to catch the oyster pirates he had formerly assisted. During this time, he nearly killed himself due to overuse of alcohol.
- At the age of 17, he signed in on a sealing schooner. After returning from the voyage, he worked odd jobs.
- After participating in a government-sponsored march, London traveled to major cities as a hobo.
- During this time, London spent multiple months in prison for vagrancy.
- In 1897, he left for gold in Klondike. There, he wrote successful stories,
poems, and other forms of literature. His fame spurred from these stories.
-London died on November 22, 1916, aged 40. His death is believed to be a suicide.
Summary of the Plot
The Law of Life
Examples of Local Color
Read this story! Pls
Koskoosh- He is an elderly former indian chief. He is left alone in the snow.
Sit-cum-to-ha- She is Koskoosh's young granddaughter.
Koshoosh's Son- He is the current chief, and the one who leaves Koskoosh behind.
Presumably winter near Yukon, a region between northwest Canada and Alaska.
The elderly Koskoosh is left alone in the snow to die as his tribe migrates to better land.
1. Due to his poor health, and therefore inability to travel, Koskoosh is left behind in the snow as his tribe readies to migrate.
2. At first, the chief clings on to the hope that his granddaughter or his son will rethink their decision, and allow him to join them.
3. After realizing there is little hope for him, Koskoosh meditates on nature and the "law of life." He peacefully accepts that all men must die.
4. Koskoosh falls into a reverie, remembering his childhood. He recalls times of famine, and times of great excess.
5. Still reminisicing on his childhood, Koskoosh remembers a hunt with Zing-ha, where they tracked a moose that was under attack by wolves.
6. Unnverved by the memory of the moose's demise, Koskoosh yearns to live longer, and begins to blame his granddaughter's indolence for his inability to do so.
7. Suddenly, Koskoosh hears the cries of wolves.
A pack of wolves encircles Koskoosh as he lie in the snow. Remembering the harrowing fate of the moose, he resolves to fight the wolves for his life.
Koskoosh, surrounded by wolves, accepts the Law of Life and embraces his death.
"The sulky crackling of half-frozen hides told him that the chief's moose-skin lodge had been struck..."
This passage describes the home of the tribe's chief, and gives insight to the living condition of the tribe.
"But a little while, on the first pinch of famine or the first long trail, and she would be left, even as he had been left, in the snow, with a little pile of wood. Such was the law."
This quote displays the tribe's somewhat cruel custom of leaving the weak behind.
"'It will snow presently. Even now is it snowing.'
'Ay, even now is it snowing.'"
This quote, along with many other references to the snow and cold, reveals the extreme conditions that the tribe lives in.
Point of View
This story utilizes third-person limited point of view. The narrator is able to describe the thoughts and feelings of Koskoosh, and no other character. This gives the reader insight to the varying emotions and memories that Koskoosh has as he nears the end of his life.
"The chief was his son, stalwart and strong, head man of the tribesmen, and a mighty hunter. As the women toiled with the camp luggage, his voice rose, chiding them for their slowness. Old Koskoosh strained his ears. It was the last time he would hear that voice."
As Koskoosh is old and can no longer see reliably, he relies on his hearing throughout the story. Therefore, the sounds around him are very important to the story.
"The old man listened to the drawing in of this circle. He waved his brand wildly, and sniffs turned to snarls; but the panting brutes refused to scatter. "
This story gives insight to the traditions of the Inuit people in the Klondike region. Furthermore, it also describes a man's acceptance of death and emphasizes the idea that we are all part of nature. It is a telling story of the thoughts and emotions that go through one's head as they near the end of their life.
Symbolism is used throughout the story as a way to emphasize certain facets of it. One example of symbolism would be Koskoosh's fire. It symbolizes his life, for when the fire is extinguished, so is he.
"At last the measure of his life was a handful of sticks. One by one they would go to feed the fire, and just so, step by step, death would creep upon him."