What are the themes in the story "All Gold Canyon" by Jack London?

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The first theme in the story "All Gold Canyon" by Jack London is the tranquility and eternality of the natural world. The story opens and closes with a description of a lovely canyon that is in a remote area and difficult for people to reach. The "ruler" in a sense...

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The first theme in the story "All Gold Canyon" by Jack London is the tranquility and eternality of the natural world. The story opens and closes with a description of a lovely canyon that is in a remote area and difficult for people to reach. The "ruler" in a sense of this canyon is a majestic buck. After the miner comes and engages in what is to him an epic struggle with a rival miner, he leaves the canyon and despite the scar caused by his digging, readers get the sense that it is reverting to a beautiful and pristine state, largely unaffected by the dramas of the humans passing through it.

The next theme is human greed. The rival miner violates cultural norms not just by violence, which was common in the "wild west", but especially by shooting his victim in the back. He is portrayed as lazy and cowardly. However, the cause of the conflict is that both characters are living on the margins of society, lured by the "get rich quick" prospects of mining. Their lives seem harsh and precarious. Although the narrator does not share extensive background information with us, readers get a sense that these men have no other career options and live with poverty and economic uncertainty.

The next major theme in the story is that of man versus nature. The miner personalizes the vein of gold as "Mr. Pocket" and has a relationship with it which is almost one of a person seeking to dominate and possess another being. As is typical in the work of London, nature appears both as a setting and an antagonist, something to be admired but also something with which the protagonist struggles, sometimes successfully (as in this story) and sometimes not.

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