The People of the Abyss


This novel is all about the conditions of people living in East End of London in 1902. ‘Jack London‘ describes all the issues related to the abyss in which these miserly people were inhabiting. From food to shelter, the people were deprived of everything. Even after trying their best and working as hard as they could, they were pitiful. While writing this book, he actually stayed in workhouses and slept on streets because he wanted to wear the shoes of a poor Londoner. His lamentable experiences and thoroughgoing explanations can make you easily picture the kind of ills people were suffering from.

the people of the abyss (street)

London's notorious Whitechapel district, photographed in 1902 for 'The People of the Abyss'

Most affecting text from the novel:

A woman of the lower Ghetto classes is as much the slave of her husband as is the Indian squaw. And I, for one, were I a woman and had but the two choices, should prefer being a squaw. The men are economically dependent on their masters, and the women are economically dependent on the men. The result is, the woman gets the beating the man should give his master, and she can do nothing. There are the kiddies, and he is the breadwinner, and she dare not send him to jail and leave herself and children to starve.

What I think:

This novel is not the one to entertain you, it would rather make you serious and force you to think about the wretchedness people have to suffer from. You will start considering yourself very lucky for being born in good terms. There are some scenes which when thought of can even make you furious or yell at the forces that couldn’t notice the pathetic circumstances of these people.

My Rating: 7/10

P.S.: Until the evils that cause people to drink(alcohol) are abolished, drink and its evils will remain!