Guessed the ending

In Jack London’s Martin Eden, Martin Eden, the titular protagonist, and his major love interest, Ruth, have some very intriguing interactions. Martin so  greatly romanticizes Ruth early on in the novel that  some of the most poignant moments between the two occur when there is a crack that ripples through Martin’s heavily romanticized vision of Ruth. We see this first happen in a sexually charged scene in which Martin spots the how the tart red juices of cherries they have previously eaten have dyed and precariously drip down the ever-so-chaste Ruth’s lips. While Martin’s response is mostly carnal, he is shocked that his perfect woman even held the potential to be stained. In this stained state, Martin feels Ruth is at her most attainable, which is to say at her lowest, most human level, “she was subject to the laws of the universe just as inexorably as he was.  She had to eat to live, and when she got her feet wet, she caught cold.  But that was not the point.  If she could feel hunger and thirst, and heat and cold, then could she feel love—and love for a man”. To err is  human, and if Ruth is not the goddess she seems to be in his head, he believes he has a chance. But in the next chapter, we see Martin not so enthralled when Ruth reveals her exceedingly human-like nature. When Ruth and Martin run into Lizzy Connolly they both see the girl through dramatically different lenses. Ruth’s remarks that Lizzy is beautiful shock and offend Martin so greatly because in his mind these words aren’t coming from the cherry stained lipped attainable Ruth, these are words coming from the goddess attached to his arm. Martin is so lost in that romanticized image that he does not realize that Ruth’s description of what Lizzy needs to be a heart throb “If that girl had proper opportunity to dress, Mr. Eden, and if she were taught how to carry herself, you would be fairly dazzled by her, and so would all men” is also a deconstruction of herself. At her most basic, Ruth truly feels that this girl is on the same level as her, as ridiculous as that seems to Martin. This is particularly interesting because early on in the novel it isn’t clear if Ruth is truly that pretty. We know that she is three years older than Martin, and for all his enamorment we don’t see other suitors banging on the Morse’s door. In fact, Ruth’s parent’s are perfectly willing to let the lower class Martin interact with her if it can get her interested in other suitors and as long as she doesn’t actually end up with the lowly Mr. Eden. While this could be due to disinterest on Ruth’s part, there does seem to be a a fairly good chance that Ruth is not as legendary a catch as Martin is leading us to believe. For all the qualities Martin claims to  love about Ruth, none of seem to directly correlate with her beauty, in fact they seem to  relate more to her class. Martin frequently waxes poetic about Ruth’s fair white skin, her soft, delicate hands and how articulate and educated she is. These are all related directly to the fact that Ruth does not have to do any physical labor due to her wealth and class. I’m not prophet but I detect some foreshadowing here and I predict a heavy dismantling of someone’s economic and social standing and a dramatic shift in how a protagonist views that person. Hope this is better than my Super Bowl prediction.


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