The major theme of labor can be seen in Martin Eden. Even though he worked and wrote at the same time, he still couldn’t manage to balance them out. The money that he had earned from his job, he would pay his debts and stamps to send his stories to publishers. He would even starve two or three days. In my opinion, society is set up in a way that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rich don’t work that often and they use their time to get a good education and later have a good job. But the laborers have to work all their lives just enough to support themselves and their families. The workers like Martin Eden do not have time for anything else because they are so tired. However, Martin Eden tried to balance his work and his career as a writer with lots of sacrifice. For example, he would sleep only 5 hours a day, read once he got home from work, write in his spare time, and live in a small room where he could cook and read at the same time.
On chapter twenty nine, Eden states, “… all the members of his own class and the members of Ruth’s class, directing their narrow little lives by narrow little formulas- herd creatures, flocking together and patterning their lives by one another’s opinions, failing of being individuals and of really living life because of the childlike formulas by which they were enslaved” (London 318). Ruth wants Eden to have a good job rather than wasting his time on writing stories that don’t get published. But Eden is judging their lifestyles and he doesn’t feel that they are fulfilling their own lives. Eden believes that being in high class society doesn’t mean that they are all intellectual morally and ethically.
But unfortunately at the end, society caused him so much pressure and gave him so little hope that he couldn’t take it anymore. He knew that no matter how hard he tried, he will be rejected by high class society because he was born a worker and will die as a worker too. He believed that he couldn’t be accepted in both social classes. He couldn’t go back to being a sailor and he couldn’t rise up to the expectations of Ruth’s society. Life had suffocated and drowned him and took him down so deep that there is only darkness.