50 Jack London Quotes About Life and Death

These Jack London quotes on travel and the call of the wild will ignite a fire in your heart.

Jack London was a novelist best known for his famous literary works The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

These Jack London books explore the themes of morality, survival, and redemption.

If you’ve ever read any Jack London novels before, you are sure to love this collection of inspirational quotes.

Beyond his writing, Jack London was also a passionate activist.

He advocated for unionization, socialism, workers’ rights, and a myriad of other solutions to the problems that he saw in his community.

Read this collection of Jack London quotes about life to learn more about his values and perspectives.

It can be valuable to understand the mindset of such a brilliant and accomplished writer.

Share this list of quotes with your friends and family.

Don’t forget to also check out these Wendell Berry quotes on community and gardening.

Also, check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily wisdom. 

See the rest of our quote database for even more inspirational ideas and thoughts.

Jack London quotes on death, life, and love

1. “Fear urged him to go back, but growth drove him on.” Jack London

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2. “Intelligent men are cruel. Stupid men are monstrously cruel.” Jack London

3. “The Wild still lingered in him and the wolf in him merely slept.” Jack London

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4. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London

5. “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” Jack London

6. “Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?” Jack London

7. “I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” Jack London

8. “A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.” Jack London

9. “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

10. “He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” Jack London

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Jack London quotes to elevate your perspective

11. “Affluence means influence.” Jack London

12. “The scab is a traitor to his God, his mother, and his class.” Jack London

13. “San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories.” Jack London

14. “Life is so short. I would rather sing one song than interpret the thousand.” Jack London

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15. “If cash comes with fame, come fame; if cash comes without fame, come cash.” Jack London

16. “One cannot violate the promptings of one’s nature without having that nature recoil upon itself.” Jack London

17. “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” Jack London

18. “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.” Jack London

19. “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.” Jack London

20. “Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire and the beaten earth around it, and to plunge into the forest, and on and on, he knew not where or why; nor did he wonder where or why, the call sounding imperiously, deep in the forest.” Jack London

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Thought-provoking Jack London quotes

21. “To be able to forget means sanity.” Jack London

22. “Do you know the only value life has is what life puts on itself?” Jack London

23. “He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness.” Jack London

24. “Show me a man with a tattoo and I’ll show you a man with an interesting past.” Jack London

25. “But I am I. And I won’t subordinate my taste to the unanimous judgment of mankind.” Jack London

26. “As one grows weaker one is less susceptible to suffering. There is less hurt because there is less to hurt.” Jack London

27. “Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.” Jack London

28. “I’d rather sing one wild song and burst my heart with it than live a thousand years watching my digestion and being afraid of the wet.” Jack London

29. “But especially he loved to run in the dim twilight of the summer midnights, listening to the subdued and sleepy murmurs of the forest, reading signs and sounds as a man may read a book, and seeking for the mysterious something that called — called, waking or sleeping, at all times, for him to come.” Jack London

30. “This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.” Jack London

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Jack London quotes that will uplift your spirit

31. “He was a silent fury who no torment could tame.” Jack London

32. “It’s better to stand by someone’s side than by yourself.” Jack London

33. “Love, genuine passionate love, was his for the first time.” Jack London

34. “White Fang knew the law well: to oppress the weak and obey the strong.” Jack London

35. “He had learned well the law of club and fang, and he never forewent an advantage or drew back from a foe he had started on the way to Death.” Jack London

36. “He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.” Jack London

37. “And how have I lived? Frankly and openly, though crudely. I have not been afraid of life. I have not shrunk from it. I have taken it for what it was at its own valuation. And I have not been ashamed of it. Just as it was, it was mine.” Jack London

38. “Life? Bah! It has no value. Of cheap things, it is the cheapest. Everywhere it goes begging. Nature spills it out with a lavish hand. Where there is room for one life, she sows a thousand lives, and its life eats life till the strongest and most piggish life is left.” Jack London

39. “Ever bike? Now that’s something that makes life worth living!… Oh, to just grip your handlebars and lay down to it, and go ripping and tearing through streets and road, over railroad tracks and bridges, threading crowds, avoiding collisions, at twenty miles or more an hour, and wondering all the time when you’re going to smash up. Well, now, that’s something! And then go home again after three hours of it…and then to think that tomorrow I can do it all over again!” Jack London

40. “Why, if there is anything in supply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only so much water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless. Nature is a spendthrift. Look at the fish and their millions of eggs. For that matter, look at you and me. In our loins are the possibilities of millions of lives. Could we but find time and opportunity and utilize the last bit and every bit of the unborn life that is in us, we could become the fathers of nations and populate continents.” – Jack London

More Jack London quotes and sayings

41. “And at the instant he knew, he ceased to know.” Jack London

42. “No, sir. Go to hell, sir. It’s the best I can do for you, sir.” Jack London

43. “The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.” Jack London

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44. “This expression of abandon and surrender, of absolute trust, he reserved for the master alone.” Jack London

45. “The aim of life was meat. Life itself was meat. Life lived on life. There were the eaters and the eaten.” Jack London

46. “He was sounding the deeps of his nature, and of the parts of his nature that were deeper than he, going back into the womb of Time.” Jack London

47. “His conclusion was that things were not always what they appeared to be. The cub’s fear of the unknown was an inherited distrust, and it had now been strengthened by experience. Thenceforth, in the nature of things, he would possess an abiding distrust of appearances.” Jack London

48. “He felt strangely numb. As though from a great distance, he was aware that he was being beaten. The last sensations of pain left him. He no longer felt anything, though very faintly he could hear the impact of the club upon his body. But it was no longer his body, it seemed so far away.” Jack London

49. “He had no conscious knowledge of death, but like every animal of the Wild, he possessed the instinct of death. To him, it stood as the greatest of hurts. It was the very essence of the unknown; it was the sum of the terrors of the unknown, the one culminating and unthinkable catastrophe that could happen to him, about which he knew nothing and about which he feared everything.” Jack London

50. “A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter but of laughter more terrible than any sadness-a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the Sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the Wild, the savage, frozen-hearted Northland Wild.” Jack London

What are your favorite Jack London quotes about life, death, and adventure?

When you read Jack London books, his love of nature becomes clear.

He had a deep fondness for wildlife and the environment.

These Jack London quotes about dogs, adventure, and the wilderness will uplift your spirit.

If you ever feel lost in life, you may need to take the time to reconnect with nature.

Being outside in the sunshine amongst the trees is good for the soul.

In his literary works such as The Call of the Wild and How to Build a Fire, readers get a good sense of their environment.

These Jack London quotes will inspire you to travel the world and take better care of the earth.

What are your favorite Jack London quotes and sayings?

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