The protagonist was reluctant to realize that he was making a mistake by traveling in a bad weather, and this exemplifies that, his arrogance overpowered his rationale. Before his trip, he had no knowledge or the weather conditions at that time on the Yukon trail to Henderson Creek. He was an inexperienced, ignorant, and conceited traveler as it is confirmed through his ignorance of the bad weather. London writes, “He took off the glove on his right hand. He opened his jacket, and shirt," he did this despite knowing that it was very cold, and this could make him freeze ( London 650).
In the short story, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London shows how man vs. nature and how inexperienced traveler in the Yukon tries to travel alone with his dog, even though it’s advised not to. Yet he is stubborn and thinks he is right, and sets off for Henderson Creek to meet his friends. He faces many different conflicts of man verses man, and man verses nature. The traveler is advised not to make this trip with the lack of his inexperience in the Yukon due to the weather, the incoming storm, and its advisories. With the subzero freezing cold temperatures that came with the storm.
That it should be more important than that was a thought that never entered his head." On the other hand, the dog is much more aware of its ' surroundings. "The dog did not know anything about temperatures. Possibly in its brain there was no understanding of a condition of very cold, such as was in the man’s brain. But the animal sensed the danger."
He also knows that "to permit the ice to remain would mean sore feet." The dog doesn’t know why, but it just obeys "the mysterious prompting that arose from the deep crypts of its being." While the dog may not have the intellectual capacity to create fire or food for itself, it instinctively knows where to go to find "the other food providers and fire providers". The dog shows extreme loyalty to the man and only when he "caught the scent of death" did he leave the man. Because the man does not pay attention to the "significances of life" and doesn't respect the power of the cold and mother nature he does not survive.
First, the temperature of the tundra is seventy-five-below zero (978), which naturally exposes the man?s ?frailty as a creature of temperature? (977). Obviously the man is subject to the forces of winter, and can not change his homeostasis as a warm-blooded animal. Similarly, London employs the ?traps? (979) of snow-covered pools of water to show that while humans may presume we are invincible, nature will stealthily remind us of our vulnerability (through invisible germs, for example).
Rather than mentioning the beauty of a snowflake, or describing a “winter wonderland”, the author chooses to describe the winter as if it is looking to bring an end to something (or someone). It is referred to as a “storm”, not a snowfall. “Fear” also is not positive, as it can be defined as “an unpleasant emotion”. In Ethan Frome, Wharton’s dark description of the winters in New England is prevalent throughout the work. She refers to the winter as a “sunless cold.” (pg.
He explains that he is “too absent-spirited to count”, which clearly illustrates how Frost has given up on trying to see the bright side. Frost adds that the “loneliness includes [him] unawares.” This oxymoron adds dramatic effect and reestablishes that the field represents Frost. He did not feel emptiness inside until he compared himself to the
May sarcastically states that the only visible similarity in terms of theme would be the issue of protagonist's death(22). I think that "To Build a Fire" story relates to many issues hidden behind a superficial plot. The story takes place in a very severe winter; the man under appreciates the dangers of nature forces and struggles to return to camp. He is warned about possible dangers, but he is also too pride and too self-confident to take the advice into consideration. The protagonist is accompanied by a dog.
The cold caused trouble that would hinder the man from building a fire to keep his body from freezing. The man was not used to the weather that he was traveling in. According to the story, it states “It was not because he was long used to it. He was a new-comer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter.” There was freezing cold water under those layers of ice he was walking on and if he gets wet, he would certainly freeze to death. Unfortunately for the man, he slipped into the icy water which instantly caused his legs and feet to turn into ice.
But the ego along with the man's inability to "neither draw nor hold his sheath knife"(157) caused him not to be able to kill the dog. The aura of death was prevalent. Realizing that he no longer had dominion over his own body as well as accepting his making a "fool of himself"(158) he had to accept the inevitable. Not only did he have to accept death, he had to acknowledge that the Old-Timer was right when warning him about traveling alone. Ironically, while the man was dying, he was angry at the dog because of its natural warmth, instincts that he had, and the survival skills that the dog used.