Review Martin Eden by Jack London

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Content Summary

After taking a brief look at the life of American writer Jack London, who is known for his important works such as White Fang, The Call of the Wild, we will examine Martin Eden novel.

Martin Eden Price Comparison

AmazonPenguin Books$7.98
Amazon (Kindle)--- $0.72
Barnes and NoblePenguin Books$18.00
Barnes and Noble (Nook)---$0.49

Who is Jack London?

John Griffith London was born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco. The author is one of the first Americans to earn a high income in this profession. His mother, Flora Wellman, is a music teacher, and his father, William Chaney, is an Astrologer. There is no clear and precise information about who his father is.

However, her mother married John London, who gave Jack London’s last name after her relationship with William Chaney. Jack London even wrote a letter to William Chaney, who was presumed to be his biological father, but in response, Chaney claimed that he was barren and that London’s real father was another man.

A Photo of Jack London

A Photo of Jack London

The cause of death of London, who died at the age of 40, caused controversy because he was using morphine due to his illness at that time. Whether he committed suicide or whether he deliberately overdosed on morphine remains a mystery. With his works such as The Call of the Wild, Martin Eden, Iron Heel, White Fang and The Sea Wolf, he broke new ground in the world of literature.

Summary Of Martin Eden

The main character of our story is Martin Eden, after whom the book is named. We see things from his point of view, and we witness his thoughts and inner voice throughout the book. Mr. Eden is a lower-class man who earns his living as a seafarer. He goes on expeditions as a ship worker at certain intervals and continues his life with the money he earns for the rest of the time.

The first turning point in the life of Martin Eden, who lives as a tenant in a room in the house of his elder sister Gertrude and Uncle Gertrude, begins when he saves the bourgeois Arthur Morse from the thugs. In this way, he meets Arthur’s sister, Ruth.

Martin Eden, who is in love with Ruth, enters the world of books and magazines in order to continue his conversation with her and to close the cultural and knowledge gap between them. This new world changes his perspective on life. His relationship with Ruth progresses. After asking Ruth for two years to marry him, Martin Eden has found his future career: being a writer.

Martin Eden cover from the Penguin Classics series

Martin Eden cover from the Penguin Classics series

He begins to read and write constantly. It reduces sleep time to five hours a day. All the times she’s not meeting Ruth, she just reads. He writes articles, poems and stories. He mails them to magazines and publishing houses. He invests his limited money in buying stamps for his letters. In this process, Martin, who attends many dinners with Ruth and his family, begins to change his thoughts towards the bourgeois class. He realizes that they are not as knowledgeable and intellectual as they seem, on the contrary, many of them have shallow and monotonous thoughts.

His acquaintance with books made him feel that all he knew was that he knew nothing or very little. Throughout his writing adventure, Martin, whose writings did not receive positive feedback from anywhere and was unsuccessful, filled most of the two-year period he requested from Ruth. However, Ruth broke up with Martin under the pressure of her family and on the grounds that she did not meet her expectations.

After that, Martin’s luck turns. His works begin to be accepted one after the other. This is how the fame of Martin Eden, whose many books, articles and stories were published, began. After what happened, Ruth wants to return to Martin, but Martin refuses.

The fame that Martin Eden has achieved does not make him happy. Martin Eden, who lost his enthusiasm for everything, stopped writing and reading, and spends his day only to sleep, always has the following question in mind:

“These books, poems, articles were written before, they were rejected all this time, why are they valuable now?”

This question gnaws at him. Martin Eden, who spends the money he earns to touch the lives of many people who have been good to him, to make them happy and to realize their dreams, bids farewell to the reader by embarking on a final cruise.

The Topic of Martin Eden

Written by Jack London at the age of 33, this work, which also carries autobiographical elements from his life, is the story of a low-class ship’s worker named Martin Eden, who falls in love with a bourgeois girl and turns into a bestselling author. Coming from the lower class and becoming a celebrity, this man witnesses the true face of the bourgeois class he desires to be in throughout the process. Although he finally achieves the success he desires, what he experiences in this process leaves deep damage to the mind and soul of Martin Eden.

In addition, the author of the book, Jack London, achieved fame by writing two important works such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang, but the fame and fame disappointed him as well. After this disappointment, he went on a journey in the South Pacific and wrote this work, which contains autobiographical elements.

Martin Eden Quotes

No, he wouldn’t go out to sea anymore. All the power was in the books and if he wanted to achieve something he had to do it on land. – page 53

Everything in life can go wrong, except love. As long as it’s not a weak-willed person who gets exhausted, falters and stumbles, love never strays. – Page 315

I’ll introduce you to people who read books. Life is worth living only if you get together with such people. – page 367

General Evaluation of Martin Eden

Personally, I have always approached classical works with a distance. That’s how I first started this book. I read for a while and gave up on the book at the very beginning. However, when I went back to reading, I came across a story and narrative that destroyed all my prejudices.

Another photo of Jack London

While reading a book, we look for similarities in the main characters and want to see them as one of us. At least I try to feel like I am the main character or his inner voice. Martin Eden has been a book that easily achieves this for me. I had no trouble understanding Martin Eden’s thoughts and feelings. It was like someone I knew, Mr. Eden.

The language and narration of the book was very fluent. I also like the translation. I did not encounter any word or sentence that disrupted the fluency. Every time I take a break from reading, I wonder what Martin Eden is thinking, how is he feeling now? I wondered. With all its elements and content, it is a work that should definitely be read.

Books of Jack London

Although Jack London is known for his books White Fang, Martin Eden or The Call of the Wild, he is an artist who left a lot of work behind. Below is a list of these works.

  • The Cruise of the Dazzler
  • A Daughter of the Snows
  • The Call of the Wild
  • The Sea-Wolf
  • The Game
  • White Fang
  • Before Adam
  • The Iron Heel
  • Martin Eden
  • Burning Daylight
  • Adventure
  • The Scarlet Plague
  • A Son of the Sun
  • The Abysmal Brute
  • The Valley of the Moon
  • The Mutiny of the Elsinore
  • The Star Rover
  • The Little Lady of the Big House
  • Jerry of the Islands
  • Michael, Brother of Jerry
  • Hearts of Three


Martin Eden Review
  • Story
  • Fiction
  • Wording
  • Atmosphere

Briefly My Opinion

I think the novel, which also carries autobiographical inspirations from Jack London’s life, will be enjoyed by literature readers who love London’s style and classics.

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