Examples Of Naturalism In To Build A Fire

1160 Words5 Pages
Jack London 's "To Build a Fire" is a tragic story of a man who embarks on a journey through the frigid cold on the Yukon Trail during a brutal winter and is faced with battling the power of nature. We are shown a man who begins his journey, accompanied by a wolf-dog that follows, with all the confidence in the world, only to quickly end, not just his travels, but also his life. London uses many elements of naturalistic literature to tell his story. The theme of man versus nature, as well as survival, is our first evidence of this. He also concentrates on narrative as opposed to character to make his point that we are nothing in the eyes of nature. Determinism is another theme used that is extremely important. Naturalism, in all, is a type of extreme realism that is built on the idea that environment determines and governs human character. "To Build a Fire" is a classic example of naturalistic literature and shows that, if humans are not careful, nature will defeat them.
The overall theme of this story is that of man versus nature. As the narrator begins the story, it is
…show more content…
"He was quick and ready in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in their meanings." It was 50 degrees below zero, but "such facts told him that it was cold and uncomfortable, and that was all." He did not think of the human inability to withstand certain temperatures for long periods of time. "50 degrees below zero was to him nothing more than 50 degrees below zero. 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." The dog "knew that this was no time for traveling. Its own feeling was closer to the truth than the man’s
Open Document