Analytical Essay on 'The Law of Life': Lessons Taught by Jack London

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Symbolizes that the old man knows of his coming mortality and that he knows he is only hanging on for a short while. The survival of the fittest message is well conveyed by the actions of the members of the tribe who abandon the old man. These people have what it takes to survive. They have the strength and the speed to move away from the harsh weather, but the old man does not possess those abilities. As a result, they cannot mortgage their own survival for the sake of an old man who may not even survive even after they reach their destination. Therefore, their reason for abandoning him is that nature has not naturally selected him for survival, and therefore, he has to face his death, however cruel that decision may be. The story teaches that people, as they struggle to survive in their harsh environmental conditions, will not be derailed by those who have lost the ability to survive, and their end of life is imminent.

The third lesson that the story teaches us that no matter how well a person is equipped for life, nature gradually takes everything from them until their end arrives. Everyone has to obey nature and its many laws. The old man was once a strong warrior who could defend the members of his tribe, but all that strength has been gradually taken away by nature, and he cannot defend himself from a pack of wolves (Pizer 117). During his younger days, he was well equipped for life, but in his old age, all the abilities he had have been taken away slowly by nature. It is an inevitable process in life. Therefore, even though life is all about survival for the fittest, those who are fit enough to survive today will slowly lose that strength and power only again to succumb to that law and rule every living thing must acknowledge.

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The fire that the protagonist sits beside plays a symbolic role in the story. London uses it to symbolize life. Koskoosh remains alive as long as the fire is the lighting, but he dies once the fire extinguishers. This reflects on the title 'The law of life,' where the author teaches that people will consider one important when their torch is shining bright, but the moment it starts dimming, they move to others whose torches are still shinning. That could be the reason why he was abandoned by his son and members of his tribe because they were aware that his light would not shine for long.

Another lesson the author teaches in this story is that the tribe is more important than an individual. Interestingly, his own son is ready to leave his father behind to die. He is not doing this out of selfishness. He is just following the ways of the tribe. The author sends a message that an individual cannot be a burden to the tribe and its ways, and the tribe can continue in their absence. Life has to continue with or without the old man, and his granddaughter plays the symbolic role of the continuity of life. She represents the new generation while the old man represents the old one. For the tribe to survive, it must protect the new generation that is yet to reproduce and can be productive in the future more than the old one, which is already past its best and is more of a burden than an asset to the society. It is a cycle, and everyone who reaches old age will undergo the same treatment. It is natural for society to attach more importance to the young people whom the society sees as assets than the older ones who have outlived their usefulness.

What London is suggesting in this story is that every individual must face death even though everyone has different ways of doing so. The protagonist in the story seems to have taken the easiest approach and accepts the situation in which he finds himself. He knows that his time to die has come, and death is inevitable. The extinguishing of the fire at the end of the story is the author's way of suggesting that fighting for one's life is futile. There is nothing much a person can do when their time to die comes. He sends a message that death is not a thing a person can wage a fight against. It is a matter that the protagonist's tribe understands all too well, and that is why they have left the old man to fend for himself. What matters most is the survival and the legacy of the tribe. An individual's life is episodic, but the tribe is here to stay. The law of life, according to the author, is that regardless of how victorious someone has been in their entire life. Death will emerge the winner in the long run. The author says, 'and in the end, death waited, ever-hungry, and the hungriest of them all' (London 1109) to illustrate what awaits every person at the end of their life.

To conclude, Jack London, one of the best naturalist authors in the United States, has taught important lessons about life and death in his work titled 'The law of life.' The story which is about an old man who is left by members of his tribe, including his own relatives to die in the woods since he could not follow them on their journey to escape the severe winter. Teaching the readers about the concept of death, especially how to face it. According to the author, no matter how well a person is equipped for life, nature gradually takes everything from them until their end arrives. Also, survival is for the fittest, and those who do not have those adaptations and capabilities will inevitably face their demise due to their inability to survive, regardless of how victorious someone has been in their entire life death will emerge the winner in the long run.

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Analytical Essay on ‘The Law of Life’: Lessons Taught by Jack London. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
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