The Build a Fire by Jack London Essay

The Build a Fire by Jack London Essay

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The short story “To Build a Fire” written by Jack London tells the tale of one mans journey to find his fellow hikers campsite in dangerously cold temperatures. The man’s journey ends when Mother Nature gets the best of him and he perishes in the cold. While it may seem as though the main conflict, man against nature, is what killed the man, the man’s internal conflict, his pride and masculinity versus his humility is what actually kills him. Nature, in reality, just finished the blow while the man’s internal conflict is what really weakened him to that point of death. Without an understanding of conflict, this true reason why the man died would slip past the reader.
Conflict specifically is defined as the tension between two opposing forces that exist in a story. Conflict can be either external or internal. Externally, these conflicts can be seen as struggles between characters or can even be shown as one character against a society or even nature. Internally, the conflict is usually portrayed as a battle within a character and is basically a mental conflict. These conflicts help create the plot of the story by forcing certain characters to act while also forcing other characters to counteract. All of these actions end up creating the plot of the story. The most important aspect of conflict is the resolution. Without the resolution, the theme of the story most likely cannot be inferred. The resolution plays a huge part in hinting at the story’s theme. Also an important question to ask when dealing with conflicts is not what type of conflict it is but instead, what is the conflict over? The answer to this question can lead to a better understanding of the characters and also the plot and theme of the story. All in all, the conf...


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... truly was. Without that understanding, the man simply made poor decisions and froze to death. His pride and masculinity wouldn’t have played a role without that understanding of internal conflict.
In conclusion, much of this story is hidden between the lines. Most readers will see the main external conflict of nature killing the man but there is so much more to it. It is important that readers understand the literary element of conflict because in this story, the internal conflict weakened the man to the point of death and nature simply delivered the final blow. The man had a serious struggle dealing with his pride, masculinity and humility. The reader should realize this because instead of the man making poor decisions, you realize that the man made stupid decisions because he didn’t want to give up his pride and masculinity. In the end, this cost him his life.

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