Law

Of Life By Koshoosh

Death is an end result of any living creature in Nature. As an intelligent
species it is sometimes difficult, especially when personally facing death, to
accept this brutal reality. Koshoosh, in "The Law of Life" written by

Jack London, experiences the intelligible acceptance of the "law
of...flesh"(890). He is found being left alone by his tribe "in the
snow, with a little pile of wood."(891) When he starts his reflective
meditation on people and events he has observed throughout his life, he tries to
understand the reason for his death. Although the body may be old and unable to
defend itself physically, there is a conscious desire to live on. Therefore an
individuals acceptance of death does not illustrate their surrender to it.

Koshoosh is almost admirable in facing death. His "barbaric mind was
capable of "(891) understanding his brutal environment because he too left
his father at one time. This made him no better than anyone else in the tribe.

Koskoosh once was the leader of his tribe, he did "great deeds and made his
name a curse in the mouths of the Pellys"(893). He has become a serene and
wise old man through his experiences and knowledge. On an intellectual level

Koskoosh accepts death but as a human he still has a strong will to survive.

Koskoosh is faced with many forces, externally and internally, that are working
to bring his life to an end. Externally, one of the most apparent is the cold of
the winter wind and the snow. He uses the fire in front of him for warmth and
the "shelter of his mangy furs"(889) to protect him from the elements.

He also has a limited supply of wood, and he thinks, "measure of his life
was a handful of faggots."(890) When they were finished then frost would
take over. That is if "the glowing eyes, the lolling tongues, the slavering
fangs\'"(893) of the wolves didn\'t get him first. Koshoosh is also faced
with internal forces, which is the acceptance and understanding of his death, in
the way of nature. Koskoosh feels "forlorn and helpless"(889) in his
internal struggle to survive against what he understands to be "the way of
life."(890) Koskoosh begins the first of many reflections in his struggle
to understand his fight for life. He is listening to his granddaughter give
commands to break camp. He longs for her to at least say goodbye, but knows that
"the duties of life, not death"(889) call to her. Koskoosh understands
that if she slows down to visit with him it will jeopardize the health of the
tribe, because they must follow the caribou. Koskoosh can also hear the cries of
little Koo-tee who in his mind is a "fretful child, and not overstrong."(890)

He feels as though the child would die soon, again he is internally enforcing to
himself that death will come to everyone. In the dialogue between Koskoosh and
his son, he expresses his acceptance of death and begins to reassure his son as
well as himself that there will not be a great struggle for life. Through a
comparison of his life to that of "last years leaf, clinging lightly to the
stem."(890), just a breath will knock it off "and I fall."(890)

Koskoosh is also affirming to himself that "All men must die."(890)
and that the practice of leaving the old and sick behind "was the way of
life, and it was just."(890) In hearing his fathers\' acceptance Koskoosh\'s
son leaves. Although Koskoosh makes this statement, he still tries to answer to
himself his role in nature. He then begins to describe natures lack of
"concern for that concrete thing called the individual"(891). In that
nature\'s interest lies in the species not the individuals struggle for life.

Koskoosh relates structures such as the "bursting greenness of the
willow"(891) but then in the fall the yellowing of the leaves. He thinks of
how the "mosquitoes vanished with the first frost."(891) When rabbits
and squirrels get to old to carry on they either die or get caught by their
enemies. He thinks of how he\'s "been left, in the snow, with a little pile
of wood"( 891). He is feeling some self-pity because he knows this is the
end for him but his desire to survive is strong and he places another
"stick carefully upon the fire"(891) he must keep warm to herd off
death a little while longer. Koskoosh continues in his meditations and
reflections in search for the truth in his question of surrendering to death. He
remembers the missionary that came with medicines