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Posted on May 3rd, 2014, by

Jack London is a prolific American writer, a Naturalist and a Socialist. Given that he experienced The Great Depression and the failure of Capitalism, one could recognize the need of a new economic system. In fact, Jack London was a critic of capitalism which dominated in the US and the world because he saw injustice and unfairness of the capitalist system. Instead, he believed that capitalism will just die out and will be replaced by socialism. This idea can be clearly traced in the novel The Iron Heel, where the author reveals his vision of the future of the US and depicts the decay of the US capitalist system, which is replaced by the new socialist system. In such a way, Jack London is one of the prominent, intellectual proponent of socialism and critic of capitalism. Even so, the ideologies of socialism that Jack London possessed could of potentially undermine the foundations of the American way of life. Because of London’s views, this allows readers of a more modern time to question London’s values and morals, which are different from traditional American values and are strongly inclined to socialism.

In fact, Jack London is a renowned writer, whose literary works have had a considerable impact on the development of American literature and culture as well as the social life. The author attempted to convey his vision and his political views through his literary works. At the same time, the author was apparently vulnerable to the impact of his social environment and socioeconomic situation in the US. In this regard, Jack London experienced a profound economic crisis in the US, which could influence views of Jack London on the political and socioeconomic system. In addition, Jack London was likely to be vulnerable to the impact of ideas of Karl Marx. F. Engels, and other socialist writers, who were particularly popular in the late 19th early 20th century, when Jack London just formed his views and beliefs. In such a way, Jack London could hardly ignore socialist ideas, which were progressive for that time. In such a situation, the devotion of Jack London to socialism is quite natural since, on the one hand, he was acquainted with progressive ideas of socialists, such as Karl Marx, F. Engels and others, whereas, on the other hand, he witnessed the decline of capitalism as the economic crisis affected the life of millions of people, who were in a desperate position and could not afford living in conditions created by the capitalist system, when a few reaps the lion share of the national wealth, while the majority of people live in poverty. Naturally, Jack London could not avoid the impact of socialist ideas, which became particularly popular in the context of stagnating capitalism. Therefore, Jack London could be vulnerable to the impact of socialist ideas as many other people of his time.

Furthermore, Jack London developed his socialist views, which he shared with traditional democratic values. In this regard, specialists (Kohak, 8) stress that socialism is closely intertwined with democracy. Moreover, socialism may be viewed as the ultimate form of democracy because socialism grants people with the power and eliminates social inequality and disparities between people (Kohak, 9). Basically Jack London supported the view of the ideal society as a classless society, where people do not need to overcome class barriers and suffer from inequality, or when their social status prevents people from personal happiness, as is the case of Martin Eden in Jack London’s novel Martin Eden. Martin Eden makes a great progress in his professional development from a sailor to a writer, from the lower-class to the upper-class. The author depicts the antagonism between Martin Eden’s proletarian background and the bourgeois world, where his beloved Ruth lives. However, the class difference becomes the unsurpassable barrier for Martin Eden and his love. At the same time, the author reveals the destructive nature of capitalism for Martin Eden proletarian background becomes an unsurpassable barrier for the main character. This is why when he gained fame and money that brought him the high social standing he still did not feel being happy. He had already lost his love and he did not need the wealth anymore. In this regard, Jack London gives clear implications that Martin Eden is a representative of the proletariat, who can come to power one day and bring socialism to the US and the world, because Martin Eden was an average working man and he remained such a man. To put it more precisely, Martin Eden personifies socialist values because he condemns wealth but he wants make all people equal and happy. For instance, he considers sharing his wealth with working men and their families that is the manifestation of the socialist ideal when rich share their wealth with the poor eliminating class differences and making all people equal. Hence, Martin Eden is one of the most remarkable and renowned novels written by Jack London and this novel reveals clearly the contempt to the capitalist system and gives implications to the rise of socialism as a better socioeconomic and political system, where the society is deprived of social inequality and all people are equal.

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