On April 18, 1906 an earthquake hit San Francisco. Jack London a local reporter opened the world’s eyes as to what happened to not only the city but the people affected. In detail Jack London observed and witnessed the tragic events of the earthquake that resulted in the city of San Francisco crumbling and burning into the ground. London used very descriptive use of words to give the reader a real sense of the dramatic reality of the destruction of San Francisco. Jack London was the first on the scene. He got a telegraph from Colliers that San Francisco just had an earthquake. Jack only lived forty miles away so he got there in no time. Once he arrived in San Francisco he realized the dramatic reality of the earth quake first hand.
He shared this experience of the earth quake to the readers throughout his writing. He wrote about the event, how the fire destroyed the city bit by bit. Right away he captured the reader and brought them to the scene of the event when he wrote, “…the smoke of San Francisco’s burning was a lurid tower visible a hundred miles away.” He continues throughout his article in Colliers to capture the readers’ imagination and help them to visualize what really happened. Londons vivid use of descriptive words helped this event in history to really come alive for all , past and present, who have read his account.
If anyone had any doubts as to the events and amount of destruction of the city of San Francisco they didn’t when they were done reading Londons in-depth description. He writes,” the whole city crashed and roared into ruin,[it] was a quiet night.” Here we come to the understanding of the total devastation that occurred and the feel for the atmosphere in which it happened. The reader truly feels like he is on the scene with Jack London but does not have to be in harms way to experience the event. In the article London goes on to describe in great detail all he saw and heard. He brings us right into the heart of the city, where there is a chilling calm.
Everything looks fine, just deserted. Then his account talks of ash raining down all around the abandoned buildings. Again Londons use of vivid language brings the reader right to the scene. Jack Londons account of the San Francisco earthquake in Colliers on May 5, 1906 did a great job at informing the nation and all that read the article as to not only the events but also the feel for the event. He brings the reader there; he becomes our eyes and ears. London was a great writer and his use for vivid language is amazing.