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Jack London John Griffith London was born in San Francisco on 1876 and died on 1967 Of an unmarried mother Flora Wellman His father may have been William Chaney a journalist lawyer and major figure in the development of American astrology Because Flora was ill Jack was raised through infancy by an ex-slave Virginia Prentiss who would remain a major maternal figure while the boy grew up Late in 1876 Flora married John London a partially disabled Civil War veteran The family moved around the Bay area before settling in Oakland where Jack completed grade school Though the family was working class it was not so impoverished as Londons later accounts claimed As an adolescent London worked at various hard labor jobs pirated for oysters on San Francisco Bay served on a fish patrol to capture poachers sailed the Pacific on a sealing ship joined Kellys Army of unemployed working men hoboed around the country and returned to attend high school at age 19 In the process he became acquainted with socialism and was known as the Boy Socialist of Oakland for his street corner oratory and would run unsuccessfully several times on the socialist ticket as mayor Always a prolific reader he consciously chose to become a writer as an escape from the horrific prospects of a life as a factory worker He studied other writers and began to submit stories jokes and poems to various publications mostly without success Spending the winter of 1897 in the Yukon provided the metaphorical gold for his first stories which he began publishing in the Overland Monthly in 1899 From that point he was a highly disciplined writer who would produce over fifty volumes of stories novels and political essays Although The Call of the Wild brought him lasting fame many of his short stories deserve to be called classics as does his critique of capitalism and poverty in The People of the Abyss and
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