18 September 2017
Literary Analysis – Jack London
“San Francisco is gone” is how Jack London describes San Francisco after being told to write about what he saw during the scene of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake disaster. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was the earthquake that took out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of walls chimneys, buildings and houses.. Nothing of it was left at the moment that Jack was viewing the scene… the only thing left was memories, and a fringe of the dwelling-houses on its outskirt. “The Story of an Eyewitness” is Jack London’s account in vivid language ofwrites using vivid language to tell what happened that day and following night.
London first describes how much the damages cost, but then also adds “the smoke of San Francisco’s burning was a lurid tower.” (London par 2). He uses personification when he says this to paint the pictures in readers’ minds of what he sees before him. London wanted readers to have the same pictures in their heads that he was actually seeing firsthand while standing there.
That night, London couldn’t hear a single sound. “As remarkable as it may seem, Wwednesday night while the whole city crashed and roared in ruin, was a quiet night.” (London par 7). The author uses irony in this sentence because he wanted to describe how still it was that night. London again uses irony to describe how the scene seemed to be overall. “In all those terrible hours I saw not one woman who wept, not one man who was excited, not one person who was in the slightest degree panic stricken.” (London par 7). London was surprised. He was unsure of why there was so much silent and so little emotion shown by anyone he saw/encountered.
Jack London uses vivid language to show the feeling he experienced while watching this disaster happen. It is important for people like Jack London to write about real – life experiences like this tragic event so that the reader can understand the impact this kind of event that impacts so many people. It is so important to care for your things and people around you because like Jack had seen, “not one person who was in the slightest panic”.
Shelbie Hislop English 12 Mrs