London’s Life on the Road Fueled Writing

One of Jack London’s most frequently quoted lines comes from his book of “tramp reminiscences” called THE ROAD: “A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.” 

Yet the preceding paragraph of this quote reveals its context, since London was not talking about canines: “The very poor can always be depended on. They never turn away the hungry. Time and again, all over the United States, have I been refused food by the big house on the hill; and always have I received food from the little shack down by the creek or marsh, with its broken windows stuffed with rags and its tired-faced mother broken with labor. Oh, you charity-mongers! Go to the poor and learn, for the poor alone are charitable…”

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