Jack London's To Build A Fire

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There are many authors in this world today. Some are known for classical writings of poetry, or hundreds and hundreds of books written by them. This author though was one who portrayed himself through dozens of short stories. His name is Jack London. Jack London is a writer who shows the conflict between Nature versus Man in his writings and supports this theme through his work, “To Build a Fire.” Jack was born on January 12, 1876 and died on November 22, 1916. He is best known for his nature novels depicting how nature can sometimes be so powerful that it overcomes man. Jack was deserted by his father when he was eleven and was mainly raised by his mother in Oakland, California. When his mother became ill she passed him on to the care of an ex-slave named Virginia Prentiss. Not much is known about his childhood because the San Francisco records were destroyed by fires after the 1906 earthquake. When London was thirteen he began to work 12 to 18 hour days at Hickmott’s Cannery. In order to get out of this work he borrowed money from Virginia Prentiss (Jack’s foster mother) and bought a sloop, which is a small wooden ship, from an oyster pirate named French Frank. Jack also became an oyster pirate himself. Jack wanted to attend the University of California when he got out of high school, and he did so after the summer of 1896. After 1897, though, he had to leave because of financial problems. In 1897 after leaving the university, Jack and his brother-and-law, James Shepard, set out to go on the infamous Klondike Gold Rush. The gold rush caused London to have severe health problems, such as; developing scurvy where his gums became swollen and led to the loss of his four front teeth. However, on the brighter side, the struggles of th...

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...sed for his work on many short stories depicting the Man versus Nature conflict. His use of imagery and symbolism in “To Build a Fire” made this story one of his most known and memorable ones. Being abandoned at age 11 and living on his own to come back and become one of the first American authors to make a living as a writer makes him a truly remarkable man.

Works Cited

"To Build a Fire, Jack London: Introduction." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Justin Karr Editor. Vol. 49. Gale Group, Inc., 2002. eNotes.com. 2006. 7 Apr, 2008 build-fire-jack-london> To Build A Fire Study Guide. 6 Apr. 2008

Wikipedia. Jack London. By various authors, 4 April 2008. 7 Apr. 2008 >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_London>.

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