Jack London's To Build a Fire

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Jack London's To Build a Fire

In his short story entitled "To Build a Fire," Jack London portrays a

bitter conflict between man and nature. The nature in this story is

the harsh environment of the Yukon Trail. London chose to use nature

as the antagonist, almost as a force working against the main

character in his struggle for survival. London accomplished this

personification of nature by giving the environment many human

characteristics, by creating numerous things going wrong that really

should not have happened, and by foreshadowing the protagonist's fate

all throughout the story.

The author used such a struggle with man versus nature in many of his

stories. He liked to portray a sort of struggle for survival, a rising

up against the odds, theme to appeal to the masses at the time. He

wrote passionately about the many tough questions of life and death,

the struggle to survive while retaining one's sense of dignity and

integrity, and he wove these fundamental themes into stories of high

adventure based on his own firsthand experiences, whether it was

trying to tough out a storm in Alaska or out at sea, or working in a

factory or in the fields in California (California State Park

Historians 1).

Jack London gives the environment many human characteristics. During

the entire story, the reader gets a feeling of the man being

challenged by the "threats" that are placed in front of him by the

Yukon Trail. "â?¦The mysterious, far-reaching hairline trail, the

absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness

and weirdness of it all-made no impression on the man" (London 116).

Nature also throws some potent...

... middle of paper ...

...pened, and by foreshadowing the

protagonist's fate all throughout the story. In the end, however, the

antagonist of this story wins, proving to the man that it is the

stronger of the life forces.

Works Cited

California State Park Historians. "Jack London - His Life and Books."

February 9, 2003. http://www.parks.sonoma.net/JLStory.html

"John Griffith London." Contemporary Authors Online. Literature

Resource Center. GaleNet. Lake-Sumter Community Coll. Lib., Leesburg,

FL. 9 Feb. 2003


London, Jack. "To Build a Fire." Literature: An Introduction to

Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. United States: Longman, 2002. 117-128.
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