Summary: A Piece Of Steak By Jack London

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People hold Jack London’s short stories in high regard to this day, because of the vivid picture drawn by the true harshness of mother nature and the ignorance of man. London himself knows all too well the unforgiving vexation of the Klondike Gold Rush, having developed scurvy and an injury that permanently affected the use of his leg. His stories, influenced by the literary movement of naturalism, focus on extreme conditions that shape human mentality and spirit. London’s usual writing style consists of very long, drawn out descriptions of the characters or the scene around these characters. A large sum of his stories focus on the instincts of animals and the questionable survival of man in extreme conditions and situations. A recurring theme throughout these short stories is survival, and the protagonist typically does not achieve this goal. Survival on the frontier is not easily achieved, as Jack London knows all too well. He and his family took part in the gold rush during the early 1900’s, getting first hand experience with the things he writes about. “To Build a Fire”, one of London’s more popular stories, focuses on a man traveling through the Yukon Valley with only an unfriendly dog as a…show more content…
His story “A Piece of Steak” is a reference to the crushing poverty that people faced in London. The protagonist Tom King, a heavyweight boxer, is past his prime. Now broke, he does not fight for glory but fights for money to pay for food for his family and rent for his apartment. He is described as animalistic; so worn down that he is almost not human, whereas his foreign challenger, Sandel, is described as god like with terms such as: heavy-thewed, deep chested, and youth incarnate. Tom holds his place for six rounds, but does not have the endurance like the young buck, Sandel. He loses and has to leave for home empty handed, unable to feed his wife and kids
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