The Law of Life

"The Law of Life"
Author Jack London
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in The Children of Frost
Publication type Magazine short story
Publisher McClure's Magazine
Publication date 1901

"The Law of Life" is a short story by the American naturalist writer Jack London. It was first published in McClure's Magazine, Vol.16, March, 1901.[1] In 1902, it was published in a collection of Jack London's stories, The Children of Frost, by Macmillan Publishers.[2]

Plot summary

This short story covers the last hours of the old Eskimo chief Koskoosh.[3] His tribe needs to travel in search of food and shelter so he is left to die because of his age and inability to see properly. Even his son has to leave him because he has a new family to feed and take care of.

However, the old Koskoosh is not dissatisfied as he knows the law of life. He accepts his fate peacefully and starts to visualize the events of his past. The images of both great famine and times of plenty vividly comes to his mind. As an experienced person he contemplates nature and ultimately accepts its superiority over an individual.


  1. "The Law of Life". Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  2. "Children of the Frost". Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  3. "The Law of Life". Retrieved 2016-02-21.

Further reading

  • Pizer, Donald, 1966. Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
  • McClintock, James. 1975. White Logic: Jack London's Short Stories. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wolf House Books.
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