Jack London’s “To Build a Fire,” is a story about a man who travels only alongside a husky through the frigid conditions of the Yukon, and becomes a victim to Mother Nature. The man was warned before hand by an old man that he should not travel alone through the frigid Yukon. He ignored the old man’s advice and tried to prove to him that he would be able to cross the Yukon on his own. As the man traveled he was able to recognize the dangerous conditions around him and notice what it was doing to his extremities. Still he made no effort to slow down which resulted in his death.
Had he understood the importance of fostering a relationship with the dog, a native Husky with inbred instincts regarding the native climate, the dog would have interacted differently with him, maybe warning him of the danger of the weather through its actions or perhaps providing help, either by sharing its body heat or by going for help. However, instead he held little regard for the dog and the dog reciprocated: "there was no keen intimacy between the dog and the man.
A Critique of Jack London's To Build a Fire Karen Rhodes analyzed to build a fire in a cultural context. He believed "London's works were written so that he could survive in a world he increasingly came to see as "red in tooth and claw""(1). It is obviously the story of a man fighting the stresses of Nature. According to Rhodes, to build a fire was drawn from the year London spent in Canada's Yukon Territory. London depicted arctic and very cold conditions throughout the story.
Critics have praised London's story for its vivid evocation of the Klondike territory. In particular, they focus on the way in which London uses repetition and precise description to emphasize the brutal coldness and unforgiving landscape of the Northland, against which the inexperienced protagonist, accompanied only by a dog, struggles unsuccessfully to save himself from freezing to death after a series of mishaps. Involving such themes as fear, death, and the individual versus nature, "To Build a Fire" has been categorized as a naturalistic work of fiction in which London depicts human beings as subject to the laws of nature and controlled by their environment and their physical makeup. With its short, matter-of-fact sentences, "To Build a Fire" is representative of London's best work, which influenced such later writers as Ernest Hemingway. Part I "To Build a Fire" begins at nine o'clock on a winter morning as an unnamed man travels across the Yukon Territory in Northwestern Canada.
Use of Devices in London's To Build A Fire Jack London uses the devices of plot, setting, and characterization in this short story "To Build A Fire" to convey his message that humans need to be social. London sets an average, middle-aged logger in a deserted Yukon trail during a wintry season. The temperature is seventy-five degrees below zero and the logger and his husky are traveling towards Henderson Creek, about ten miles away, where the logger's companions are located. London places the man in this Yukon environment to symbolize that in this cold, cruel world, we need to learn how to benefit from each other. Prior to embarking on his journey, the logger is given advice from an old-timer at Sulfur Creek that "no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below".
The story “To Build a Fire” by jack London is one of the most famous stories of survival in the wilderness. The story is about a man leaving a camp to walk to another camp at a temperature of 75 degrees below zero, with an Alaskan husky dog as a companion. The story takes place in the past and was written in 1908. The man in the story is purposely not given a reputation, as the deterministic environment is additional more necessary than his free will and individuality. His aim at the start of the story is to reach the camp to meet "the boys," presumptively to prospect for gold.
This is a trip that he has made many times and he can even predict what time he will arrive in that camp. He is traveling with a dog as his companion. As he goes along the trail that he has picked out he notes many things about his surroundings and the temperature is a constant figure in his mind because if it drops too rapidly that would mean death for him. When he stops to eat food he builds a fire and takes a rest for awhile. After sitting her for awhile the snow that was on the tree above him falls on top of him because it had begun to melt from the snow.
The only world the man is truly accustomed to, is his own. Never being exposed to such a harsh climate, draws us to the conclusion that the environment is the determining factor of his survival, as well as his dog's too. Anything that the man and his dog comes into contact with, creates an anticipation for disaster in the story. London places a strong emphasis on the setting in the introduction to the story. "Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey..." He repeats these phrases to redefine to his readers the impact the setting has on the lives of the characters.
Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild, and Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man all tell the stories of a real-life character that makes the decision to venture out into the wilderness on his own. On one hand, Chris McCandless (Into The Wild), Timothy Treadwell (Grizzly Man), and Thoreau are similar in several ways. All three men record some kind of documentation about their journey; McCandless and Thoreau keep journals while Treadwell keeps a video log. Also, all three forced themselves to really live off the land using only the bare minimum of essentials. On the other hand, the men had several differences.
A Fire Not Built “To Build a Fire”, a short story written by Jack London, is viewed as a masterpiece of naturalist fiction. “To Build a Fire” features a miner and his wolf-dog companion who are traveling in the Yukon Territory to meet fellow miners. The miner is the protagonist and the wolf-dog companion is the foil because the wolf-dog plays off of the traits of the protagonist. The central theme of “To Build a Fire” concerns the struggle of man versus nature. “To Build a Fire” tells of a man traveling in the extreme cold through the Yukon Territory.