"The King of Mazy May" by Jack London
What's the weather like in the Yukon?
Jack London (1876-1916)

"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark 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 permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live,
Not to exist."

(To stifle is to hold back or snuff out.)

  1. What exactly does Jack London mean by the last two lines?
  2. Do you agree? Why/not? If you can, give an example from your life that shows it.
  3. There is a clue above that shows that Jack London probably lived this philosophy. What is it?
Read pages 144-147 in hardback Lit. book. Answer the questions after.
  1. What was one of the earliest inspirations that drew Jack London to writing?
  2. London took his first job when he was...a) 7.  b) 10.  c) 15.  d) 17.
  3. London's first short story was based on his experience on a...
  4. What persuaded London to go back to high school?
  5. After how many years of high school was he able to get into UC Berkeley?
  6. What had the largest influence on London's writing?
  7. His most successful piece of writing was...
  8. When he became rich from his writing, he continued to crusade in support of...?
  9. How old was he when he died?
  10. The Klondike gold rush began in what year?
  11. As many as __________ people participated.
  12. The police made people turn back if they didn't have...

  1. When a plot of land staked out by a gold miner is stolen, we call this...
  2. What current US state is closest to the Klondike region?
  3. (2) Why is it taking old Loren Hall so long to register his plot of land?
  4. Why does Walt not have to worry about his father's land being stolen?
  5. On page 61, what do the words richness and discoveries refer to?

Quiz for After.

  1. How do the claim jumpers find out which claims they can jump?
  2. (2) Why do the jumpers decide to jump Loren Hall's claim?
  3. Walt knows that one of the most important things you need for a successful dogsled trip is...?
  4. So why doesn't he take care of that issue?
  5. How does Walt fend off the Irishman when he jumps on the sled?
  6. The crookedness of Mazy May Creek actually makes it another ___________, along with the pursuing claim jumpers.
  7. Why?
  8. Name another #6 in the story.
  9. (2) How does Walt know he has the wrong dog in the lead?
  10. Gee and Haw?
  11. If he's in such a hurry, why does Walt sometimes slow the dogs down, and jump off the sled to run alongside?
  12. Why can't the claim jumpers hit Walt with their rifle shots?
  13. What does Walt do with the dog who was shot?
  14. Why don't the claim jumpers shoot Walt when they pull alongside him?
  15. What makes them drop their guns?
  16. Why did it end up being a good thing that the lead dog was shot?
  17. (?) Give an example from the story of each of the following methods of characterization that Jack London uses to show us Walt Masters. Does he use all four? a) Direct physical description.  b) Direct statements about his personality.  c) Showing what other characters think/say of him.  d) Showing his actions, thoughts, and words.