Adaptation: ‘The Law of Life’

‘The Law of Life’ by Jack London

My initial adaptation goes:


There is an old man in an eskimo tribe in the snowy Alaskan mountainous wilderness who is in his final hours of life. He lies beside a fire, the sticks there representing time – as the sticks burn out, so does he. He observes nature around him, whilst he accepts nature is about to take him. He understands that nature does not care about him as an individual, rather men as a collective race and their work for earth. He observes the workers work, and the chief celebrating, acknowledging the women and their soul purpose in life to be born, be beautiful, have children, grow old and die. In his final moments he looses his sight and also notices beasts approaching him. He grabs the last stick from the fire and tries to torch them away but realises it is no use, one man against several beasts. There, as he gives up, he passes. The ‘beasts’ are really the other men taking him to die properly within his tribe.


FORESHADOWING MOMENT: (during the old man’s recollection/observation) a moose has been left by his pack and is approached by a pack of wolves. The moose tries to take on the wolves though soon there is no chance, one moose against several wolves, and the moose is killed.

METAPHOR: “I am last year’s leaf, clinging lightly to a stem” – accepts fate

  • The settlement of the last frontier, Alaska, 1876
  • Alaskan Gold Rush – Gold prospector – London experiences, writes stories
  • Questions life and death – struggle to survive w/ dignity and integrity
  • All men must die – ETHOS
  • Fights beasts, remembers moose – what’s the point in fighting back
  • Learns to accept fate
  • Uses life of eskimo to symbolise way nature works
  • Law of life and nature = same


Reflection and feedback:

No concern for individual – race of man as whole – challenge man singular solitude/at one with nature

One task – do perform = die, don’t perform = die. Obey – tree as authoritative figure

VISUALISE – beginning, middle, end

Relationship with animals – where do we come from?


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