The Cruise of the Dazzler

CruiseOfTheDazzlerSuggested by Brad Nelson • Joe runs away from home and enlists on a private schooner. He, of course, finds out immediately that the words of his father may be true, that the world isn’t a playground. But he’s having a heck of a lot of fun regardless. Another terrific adventure story from Jack London.
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One Response to The Cruise of the Dazzler

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Surely Jack London’s books were the Harry Potter of the day and, like the Harry Potter series itself, had some grit to them. Joe gets into a fight with some hoodlums and kicks some ass. There are guns, deceit, treachery, law-breaking, and all sorts of guy stuff. And I think surely part of the appeal of Harry Potter was that they were stories that had not been watered down and drained of all interest by eliminating guns, fights, conflict, etc. Pretty much in the opening of the Harry Potter books you learn that his parents, and many other people, were horribly murdered. And I think there’s a refreshing appeal to the Jack London books because they’re not from our time; a time that has become infected and dumbed-down by many screwy notions. “Boys will be boys” is one of those notions that has almost become illegal in our time, but not in Jack’s time, and it shows.

    “Oh, you can’t understand!” he burst out. “You can’t understand. You’re a girl. You like to be prim and neat, and to be good in deportment and ahead in your studies. You don’t care for danger and adventure and such things, and you don’t care for boys who are rough, and have life and go in them, and all that. You like good little boys in white collars, with clothes always clean and hair always combed, who like to stay in at recess and be petted by the teacher and told how they’re always up in their studies; nice little boys who never get into scrapes—who are too busy walking around and picking flowers and eating lunches with girls, to get into scrapes. Oh, I know the kind—afraid of their own shadows, and no more spunk in them than in so many sheep. That’s what they are—sheep. Well, I’m not a sheep, and there’s no more to be said. And I don’t want to go on your picnic, and, what’s more, I’m not going.”

    “The Cruise of The Dazzler” is an interesting story of human wanderlust and of the grass always looking greener on the other side of the fence. To the suburban runaway, Joe, life on the sea looks grand. To the sea urchin, Frisco Kid, (who is about the same age as Joe), it’s family life onshore that holds the attractions.

    Joe is also the model of incorruptibility. He is proudly not a sheep.

    The water was soon slushing merrily over the deck, while the smoke pouring from the cabin stove carried a promise of good things to come. Time and again Joe lifted his head from his task to take in the scene. It was one to appeal to any healthy boy, and he was no exception. The romance of it stirred him strangely, and his happiness would have been complete could he have escaped remembering who and what his companions were. The thought of this, and of French Pete in his bleary sleep below, marred the beauty of the day. He had been unused to such things and was shocked at the harsh reality of life. But instead of hurting him, as it might a lad of weaker nature, it had the opposite effect. It strengthened his desire to be clean and strong, and to not be ashamed of himself in his own eyes. He glanced about him and sighed. Why could not men be honest and true? It seemed too bad that he must go away and leave all this; but the events of the night were strong upon him, and he knew that in order to be true to himself he must escape.

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