Jack London - The People of the Abyss
Has anybody who contributes to this forum ever read Jack London? He has produced really absorbing books full on action, worth running your eyes over. But that aside I read The People of the Abyss, based on Jack London's undercover reporter research of life in the East end of London in the first decade of the 2oth century. He staid in various flop houses, dressed as a down and out. He blended in so well with his surroundings that nobody knew he was in fact a reporter all the time. What he found was profoundly disturbing. Serious poverty, filthy living conditions, limited availability of running water, overcrowding in slum tenements, high levels of mortality, violent crime, starvation of children, serious diseases and cruel abandonment of elders. Homelessness, institutional cruelty. He vividly reports a case of a starving elderly female
dying covered in vermin wasting away in a cold London attic. I have utilised these shocking images of neglect as material for a poem linked to a theme of abandonment as part of one of my e books. But in view of the cuts to services in the UK this is now a reality, also due to the rapid increase in heating costs. Which many of our elders due to their low incomes cannot afford. That we are going full circle back to concepts such as the Workhouse used for the supposed feckless and no-hopers, basically failures of our capitalist system is becoming a reality already. In my poetry, I believe it is important to draw to people's attention, unfairness in our social systems that permit this to happen. In my eyes just by our lack of taking an active stand and passively allowing these injustices to happen is wrong, and a dereliction of our responsibilities to those in our communities who are struggling in this way. It is a case of eat or freeze, and the US is suffering too, along with all countries that have adopted viscious free market capitalism.
Another contemporary but no less urgent theme is that of starvation and as a social activist, I feel it is important to highlight the horror of starvation which in the current time of severe austerity is affecting more people than ever before. Children in our schools in England are attending school not having had breakfast. And our school teachers are now resorting to spending some of their own wages to ensure the kids are fed. And to ensure that they can concentrate while they are attending school. A poignant theme already developed in one of my other poems.
By the way I would welcome any reply to my post, to discuss it further. Regarding the book title, Jack London who is originally from California, you can trace the book through your local library. Well worth a read to get a handle on our current economic woes .
All the best
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