Jack London, When God Laughs

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Jack London lived beyond his income for much of his writing career. To pay his bills, he was often forced to produce what he called “immediately remunerative short fiction for the magazines” (


, 612–13). In 1911, age thirty-five, he gathered twelve of these short stories into

When God Laughs

, an uneven collection where forgettable hack work rubs shoulders with such masterpieces as the anti-imperialist “The Chinago” or London’s “most provocative story of social injustice” and child labour, “The Apostate” (Reesman, 87).

The protagonist of “The Chinago”, Ah Cho, is a twenty-two-year-old expatriate Chinese coolie – a Chinago – who has been working for three years on a cotton plantation in Tahiti. One day he and a handful of other Chinagos witness a murder by a

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Citation: Fachard, Alexandre. "When God Laughs". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 June 2017 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=35829, accessed 19 April 2024.]

35829 When God Laughs 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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