The Iron Heel

The Iron Heel: Descending Upon and Crushing Humankind 12th Grade

Being a part of an independent worker’s union can risk one’s job; leading a union can often lead lead to worse. It can lead to losing that job, being threatened, or even murdered due to the rebellious views. Unions tend to arise when workers rights are being undermined. However, the social elite opposed to unions because they do not wish to loosen their grip on the workers. When composing The Iron Heel, Jack London took into the account the events around him and expressed his socialist views through the various characters. In The Iron Heel, Jack London criticizes the rise of the oligarchy and its suppression of justice as well as individuals who questioned its supremacy and legitimacy.

London was a socialist himself, he joined the Socialist Labor Party in 1896, and was inspired to write this book by what was happening around him at the time, the early 20th century. In the novel, Jack London portrays this through Philip Wickson who is described as an one-time oligarch. Mr. Wickson tells Ernest, “We will grind you revolutionists down under our heel, and we shall walk upon your faces. The world is ours, we are its lords, and ours it shall remain (London 97)”. Jack London refers to the Russian Revolution of 1905 through this quote....

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