The Iron Heel

Influences and effects

The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.[4] Orwell himself described London as having made "a very remarkable prophecy of the rise of Fascism", in the book and believed that London's understanding of the primitive had made him a better prophet "than many better-informed and more logical thinkers."[5]

Harry Bridges, influential labor leader in the mid-1900s, was "set afire" by Jack London's The Sea-Wolf and The Iron Heel.[6]

Granville Hicks, reviewing Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano, was reminded of The Iron Heel: "we are taken into the future and shown an America ruled by a tiny oligarchy, and here too there is a revolt that fails."[7]

Chapter 7 of The Iron Heel is an almost verbatim copy of an ironic essay by Frank Harris (see Jack London § Plagiarism accusations).

London's novella The Scarlet Plague (1912), and some of his short stories, are placed in a dystopian future setting that closely resembles that of The Iron Heel, although there is no actual continuity of situations or characters.

Frederic Tuten's debut novel The Adventures of Mao on the Long March uses extensive quotes from The Iron Heel, placing them alongside details of Chinese history from 1912 to Mao's rise to power.


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