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Imagery In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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. The imagery, irony, and relationship between the man and dog in the story help foreshadow death.
Jack London’s use of imagery in this story is very important. It lays a foundation of the mood of the story. “Day had broken cold and gray…there was no hint of sun. The Yukon lay a mile wide and hidden under three feet of ice. On top of this ice were as many feet of snow”(583). This helps the reader understand the type of setting of the story. London’s use of imagery also does a good job for the reader to picture what the man had to persevere. London uses imagery in a way that the reader can feel the harsh conditions and can hear the man’s spit crackle in the air. With the imagery London displays in the story, it helps the reader envision the man’s battle with nature and it foreshadows his death.
The irony that Jack London uses represents both dramatic and situational. As the man walks through the Yukon he is cautiously on a lookout. “…he was keenly observant, and he noticed the changes in the creek, the curves and bends and timber-jams, and always he sharply noted where he placed his feet”(586). Through this quote the reader would think that the man knows wha...

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...e of them fell through and got wet. Since both of these situations had consequences, the reader can foreshadow that this expedition is not going to end well for the man. The man not being on the dog’s side and listening to it got him in the last situation. He built his last fire underneath a tree and the snow melted and fell onto the fire and put it out. His ignorance and overconfidence in his survival skills and not trusting the instincts of the dog eventually led him to his death.
In conclusion, the man thought he could travel the Yukon on his own even after the old man told him that it was not a good idea. He went through many obstacles, and the dog kept giving him warnings but the man’s ignorance and overconfidence got the best of him. London’s use of imagery, irony, and the relationship between the man and the dog helped the reader foreshadow the man’s death.

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