Jack London Quotes

Quotes by Jack London from The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and The Sea Wolf

I do not live for what the world thinks of me, but for what I think of myself.

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time” Jack London

Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?

One cannot violate the promptings of one’s nature without having that nature recoil upon itself.

He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man with a club. He had learned the lesson, and in all his after life he never forgot it. That club was a revelation. It was his introduction to the reign of primitive law, and he met the introduction halfway. The facts of life took on a fiercer aspect; and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.

Life achieves its summit when it does to the uttermost that which it was equipped to do.

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.

The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them . . . I shall use my time.

Man always gets less than he demands from life.

Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.

Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland. These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.

I write for no other purpose than to add to the beauty that now belongs to me. I write a book for no other reason than to add three or four hundred acres to my magnificent estate.

Men do not knowingly drink for the effect alcohol produces on the body. What they drink for is the brain-effect; and if it must come through the body, so much the worse for the body.

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.
– The Call of the Wild (1903)

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