Jack London: A Piece of Steak

With each passing day we grow old. We gain experience but we also become less and less strong. The rigours of age can be mitigated somewhat if we have wealth. But without it, life is still more hard.

This story is of an ageing prize-fighter who was once a champion against whom many a contestant fell flat. Today he is in the doldrums with little money even to buy food. He has had fewer and fewer chances of fighting and he is too weak to take up any rigorous work even if it comes his way.

More and more young pugilists are rising and they are able to offer resistance to this man advanced in years, though he may not be lacking in experience.

This is a moving story. The prose is excellent and needs to be savoured. So ensure that you have a quiet hour before you start reading it.

Another of the stories that I have read several times.  And once also to a gang which alas is not quite active now because how many persons can spare time for an old writer, the originator of  SSLC? That is why I went to his home the other day and read a story to him.




3 Responses to Jack London: A Piece of Steak

  1. Another loooooong short story! And a gloomy one. A subject I am least interested in! Yes, definitely not my cuppa!Too tragic mood. Only the spotless prose saw me through!

    • cgrishikesh says:

      Yes, it was chosen for its prose. I remember this was introduced to me years ago by a friend of mine since college days. (He moved to Canada where he is a Professor of English, but we meet whenever he comes to Madras.)
      I am a cheerful person myself and in real life I do shy away from things with the slightest tinge of sorrow (one of the reasons why I don’t watch news and Tamil serials on TV!). But I can stand it in the cold deadwood!
      Let me warn you that some others that I mention in the future may be gloomy as well!

  2. Ganesh says:

    Thanks for linking me to another excellent piece of work. A very touching story, and the description of what happens to King on Page 12 is very realistic. (It felt as though I was watching a scene from a boxing movie in front my eyes at that very moment).

    Talking of moving tales, I hope you have read James Herriot’s short story “God is Near” (also titled as “The Card Over the Bed” in some anthologies). I have read no other story which has brought tears to my eyes. (I got introduced to it in Class XII — it was part of my English text book, and since then I have read it multiple times in various books by James Herriot).

    Jack London’s story now comes a close second for the sheer emotional pull that the he is able to achieve (it loses a couple of points in my eyes because I don’t like ‘violence’ in stories — but, that is just applicable to me, I guess!)

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