Read the following excerpts from the book "The Iron Heel" by Jack London. Retell them following the outline making use of the word combinations listed after each point:,

1. The more I thought of Jackson's arm, the more shaken I was. For the first time I was seeing life. My university life, and study and culture, had not been real. I had learned nothing but theories of life and society that looked all very well on the printed page, but now I had seen life itself. Jackson's arm was a fact of life.

It seemed monstrous, impossible, that our whole society was based upon blood. And yet there was Jackson. I could not get away from him. He had been monstrously treated. His blood had not been paid for, in order that a larger dividend might be paid and I know a score of families that had received those dividends, and by that much had profited by Jackson's blood.

Down in the depths of me I had a feeling that I stood on the edge of a precipice. It was as though I were about to see a new and awful revelation of life. And not I alone. My whole world was turning over. There was my father. I could see the effect Ernest was beginning to have on him.

2. I met Colonel Ingram at a church reception. Him I knew well and had known well for many years. I trapped him behind large palms and rubber plants, though he did not know he was trapped. He met we with the conventional gaiety and gallantry. He was ever a graceful man, diplomatic, tactful, and considerate. And for his appearance, he was the most distinguished-looking man in our society.

And yet I found Colonel Ingram situated the same as the unlettered mechanics. He was not a free agent. He, too, was bound upon the wheel. I shall never forget the change in him when I mentioned Jackson's case. His smiling good-nature vanished like a ghost. A sudden, frightful expression distorted has well-bred face. I felt the same alarm that I had felt when James Smith broke out. But Colonel Ingram did not curse. That was the slight difference that was left between the working-man and him. He was famed as a wit, but he had no wit now. And, unconsciously, this way and that he glanced for ways of escape. But he was trapped amid the palms and rubber trees.

Oh, he was sick of the sound of Jackson's name. Why had I brought the matter up? He did not relish my joke. It was poor taste on my


part, and very inconsiderate. Did I know that in his profession personal feelings did not count? He left his personal feelings at home when he went down to the office. At the office he had only professional feelings.

"Should Jackson have received damages?" I asked.

"Certainly," he answered. "That is, personally, I have a feeling that he should. But that has got nothing to do with the legal aspects of the case."

He was getting his scattered wits slightly in hand.

"Tell me, has right got anything to do with the law?" I asked.

"You have used the wrong initial consonant," he smiled in answer.

"Might?" I asked; and he nodded his head.

"And yet we are supposed to get justice by means of the law?"

"That is the paradox of it," he countered. "We do get justice."

"You are speaking professionally now, are you not?" I asked.

Colonel Ingram blushed, actually blushed, and again he looked anxiously about him for a way to escape. But I blocked his path and did not offer to move.

"Tell me," I said, "when one surrenders his personal feelings to his professional feelings, may not the action be defined as a sort of spiritual mayhem?"

I did not get an answer. Colonel Ingram had ingloriously bolted, overturning a palm in his flight.

3. I saw Mr. Wickson and Mr. Pertonwaithe, the two men who held most of the stock in the Sierra Mills. But I could not shake them as I had shaken the mechanics in their employ.

They talked to me in fatherly ways, patronizing my youth and inexperience. They were the most hopeless of all I had encountered in my quest. They believed absolutely that their conduct was right. There was no question about it. They were convinced that they were the saviours of society, and that it was they who made happiness for the many. And they drew pathetic pictures of what would be the sufferings of the working class were it not for the employment that they, and they alone, by their wisdom, provided for it.

4. I was not surprised when I had my talk out with Mrs. Wickson and Mrs."Pertonwaithe. They were society women. Their homes were palaces. They had many homes scattered over the country, in the mountains, on lakes, and by the sea. They were tended by armies of servants, and their social activities were bewildering. They patronized the university and the churches. They were powers, these two women, what of the money, that was theirs. They aped their husbands, and talked about the duties and responsibilities of the rich.

They grew irritated when I told them about the deplorable conditions of Jackson's family, and when I wondered that they had made no voluntary provision for the man, I was told that they thanked no one for instructing them in their social duties. When I asked them flatly to assist Jackson, they as flatly refused. Their reply was that they were glad of the opportunity to make it perfectly plain that


no premium would ever be put on carelessness by them; nor would they, by paying for accidents, tempt the poor to hurt themselves in the machinery.


1. Avis is shaken by the results of her investigation (the more she thought ... the more shaken she was; to be monstrously treated; down in the depths of; to have a feeling that ...; to stand on the edge of a precipice; to be'about to see; to have an effect on smb).

2. Avis speaks to Colonel Ingram who turns out to be two different persons (to know smb well; graceful, diplomatic, tactful, considerate; as for his appearance; distinguished-looking; to mention Jackson's name; to vanish like a ghost; to distort smb's face; to look out for a way of escape; to be trapped; to be sick of the sound of; it was inconsiderate of; to bring up the matter; (not) to count personal feelings; to receive damages; to have got nothing to do with the law; to blush; to block one's way; to overturn a palm).

3. Avis speaks to people of her own class (to hold most of the stock; to talk to smb in fatherly ways; to patronize smb's youth and inexperience; to provide employment for smb; to be scattered over the country; social activities; to patronize the university; to grow irritated; to refuse flatly; to be glad of the opportunity; to make it plain; to tempt smb to do smth; to hurt oneself in the machinery; to pay for accidents).

Suggested Topics for Discussion

1. The change in Avis's outlook after the investigation of Jackson's case.

2. The class Avis belonged to and her attitude towards it.

3. Law and justice in bourgeois society as shown in the excerpts from "The Iron Heel".

4. The struggle of the working people for their rights in capitalist countries today.


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