Jack London lived during the Progressive Era (end of the 19th, beginning of the 20thcentury). He used his experiences as a poor and needy child as the inspiration for his adventurous and exciting writing, which brought him worldwide success. .
On January 12, 1879, Jack London was born in San Francisco as an illegitimate child. His mother, Flora Wellman was left as an unwed mother because his birth father denied paternity. Later that year she married John London, who adopted her son. He was named John Griffith London, which he later changed to the pen name Jack London. Jack was close to his stepfather who taught him about farming and fishing and a love for the land. .
Jack grew up in poverty. His family lost their home many times often due to his mother's over spending. When he was thirteen, he discovered his passion for sailing and bought a small boat to sail on San Francisco Bay. One year later, when he was fourteen, Jack left school because he couldn't afford to go to high school. He helped support his family by working in several jobs. He became an expert sailor and got a larger boat named the Razzle Dazzle when he was fifteen. Then his stepfather, John London, suffered an injury and Jack became responsible for the maintenance of the family. Because legitimate work did not bring enough money to support his family, he became active as an oyster pirate. He and his friends stole oysters at night and sold them the next day. It is at this time that Jack learned in order to survive he must be able to fight. He soon began to drink and the alcohol almost killed him. Jack realized he needed to get out of this line of work if he wanted to survive and he accepted a job with the Fish Patrol to catch thieves violating fish laws. His payment was 50% of the fines collected. At this time he also started reading and borrowing books from the library. In the following year he shipped out on a sealing vessel and sailed across the Pacific.