Friday, January 20, 2012

On "The White Man's Way" by Jack London (5233 words) ***

This story of Jack London's is a comparison between cultures and an exploration of the misunderstandings that can occur and the mysteries that can result when wildly divergent cultures meet. I'm reminded a bit of Paul Bowles's work. But whereas Bowles often leaves Western readers with little to hold on to, which is what makes much of what he writes so chilling, London pretty handily makes his point, making for some ironic tension between the characters and American readers. Perhaps that's because of the point of view that London takes here. We read it from the perspective of an American traveler, but the traveler's perspective is merely a frame within which the oral story of an Indian and his sons resides. Many are the mysterious ways of the white man--if you're an Indian. Read the story here.

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