Starvation And The Abyss

The story in Jack London’s book The People of The Abyss that stood out to me was about starvation.  London spoke to a woman who’s husband was an engineer, but did not have the energy to find a steady position due to the lack of food.  She, her husband and their two young daughters all lived in what London called a “hole.”  They had no stove, so they were forced to cook their small portions of food in their fireplace.  London recounts how the family always “rose from the table able and willing to eat more.”  All four family members felt the affects of malnutrition, including exhaustion, sickness and lack of work.  In order to support the family, the two daughters were forced to work miles away from their home, but due to their lack of energy they were often late for work and fined for their tardiness.  The woman worked from morning until night making dresses for just cents a piece, simply trying to make enough money to feed her family.  This story struck me as particularly sad because this family may have been able to break the cycle of poverty if only someone had given them a helping hand.  It was sad that every member of the family had to work so hard only to make a few cents a day.  I found that this story characterized the Victorian Era quite well, and explained the conditions in which the people lived in that time period.


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