To Build a Fire - Jack London The short story “To Build a Fire” by Jack London is a comprehensive story that tackles the struggles of a newcomer trying to survive a day in the Yukon with very harsh and cold weather. The man travels with a big native husky and tries many times to build a fire but fails due to his inadequate personality. The man repeatedly lets his ignorance and arrogance dictate his decisions which soon leads to his demise. The theme of the short story “To Build a Fire” by Jack London is that being ignorant, arrogant and foolish can lead to bad decisions. Foremost, the theme of this story is that ignorance can lead to poor decisions because the man ignored his surroundings. An example of this is when the man ignored the advice and warnings given by the old-timer from Sulphur Creek. It stated on page 4 in the 3rd paragraph “It certainly was cold, was his thought. That man from Sulphur Creek had spoken the truth There was no mistake about it, it was cold.” This shows that when the man had met the old-timer from Sulphur Creek last fall, he was warned about how cold it can get in the area, yet the man was ignorant and neglected the helpful warning. On page 6 in the 1st paragraph it also stated “The old-timer had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below.” This shows that the man was given advice by the old-timer to never travel alone in the Klondike when the temperature is below -50°C. The man was well aware of how low the temperature was. However, the man still disregarded the advice given by the old-timer and went on a journey alone. The man was very ignorant towards the advice and warnings given by the old-timer from Sulphur Creek. Another example of this is when the man was ignorant towards all of his surroundings. There were many hints in nature and in the trail that warned the man to not continue to travel in the Klondike that day, yet he let his
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John Karkauer novel, Into the Wild displays a true life story about a young man by the name of Christopher McCandless, who creates a new life for himself by leaving civilization to live in the wilderness. The story displays how Christopher develops and matures throughout the story by prevailing harsh predicaments and learning valuable lessons on the way. Christopher’s character evolves by comprehending several new lessons and such as finding true pleasure, disregarding other people’s judgments, as well as realizing that material things are just material things and nothing else. All through the story, Christopher struggles to discover the true satisfaction in his life. Christopher struggles to choose what makes him truthfully content over what makes his parents glad. Christopher’s parents want him to attend law school, despite the fact that he wants to follow his passion to live in the northern wild. Christopher’s letter to his sister Carine says, “or that they think I’d actually let them pay for my law school if I was going to go….” (Krakauer.pg21). According to this quote it can be known that Christopher does not really feel any pleasure or happiness in wanting to go to law school. He finds his satisfaction with life on the road and experiences this because life on the road gives him endless possibilities and adventures every day. Christopher’s letter to Ron Franz goes as, “I’d like to repeat the advice I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin in boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt……Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon.”(Krakaur.pg56-57). The letter details the benefits of living a life in the wild such as the new adventures you face every day. Chris feels what actually happiness is, when he meets face to face with the wild. As he experiences the northern wild, he learns that true happiness doesn’t come from one source, but from various foundations in a person’s life. Chris penned a brief note, which says, “I HAVE HAD A HAPPY LIFE AND THANK THE LORD. GOODBYE AND MAY GOD BLESS ALL!”(Krakauer.pg199) The brief note shows that even though Chris was on the edge of death, he was finally happy with his life.
...he danger of the journey, but the man is unaware of the harshness of the environment and continues onward in the journey. In this short story there is a connection between the miner’s death and his lacking intellect. The Story’s ending shows the lack of intuition by the man falling into the sleep of death, and the superior intuition of the wolf-dog sensing death coming on the poor miner, and heading off to find the cabin of the miner’s comrades. The miner ultimately dies because of his lack of decisions he makes on his journey in the Yukon Territory.
As the plot unfolds, I feel the story's protagonist falls victim to several factors brought into play at once: his inexperience with the severity of the Klondike winters, his inability to envision the possible consequences of his decision to travel alone in such weather, a series of unfortunate events during his trip, and the misjudgment exercised in his attempts to survive those incidents. Though quick and alert, the man's lack of imagination renders him unable to visualize what might happen to a man traveling without a companion should adverse circumstances arise in such severe weather in an uninhabited landscape. When he indeed finds himself in dire straits as a result of getting wet in the brutal freezing weather, he once again fails to imagine how quickly the cold will threaten his life and consequently misjudges the severity of his situation. His poor judgment causes him to make one mistake after another until he finds himself incapable of extricating himself from his situation. It seems obvious that had he made himself more familiar with the culture of the land and paid attention to the warnings of the old-timer on Sulpher Creek, he might have chosen to delay his trip and live to travel another day. 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.
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 of 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.
Jack London has written a classic short story in the 1908 version of "To Build a Fire." This is the classic story of man fighting nature. In most genres (e.g. movies, novels, short stories) the main character comes out on top, however unlikely that is. Jack London takes literary naturalism and shows the reader how unmerciful nature is. Much like Stephen Crane in "The Open Boat," in which the one of the characters dies, London doesn't buy into that "has to have a good ending" contrivance. Through analysis of two London's letters (to R.W. Gilder and Cloudesly Johns) these two versions of "To Build a Fire" come alive with new meaning. Although there are many differences on the surface, both stories use his philosophy as expressed to Johns and both teach a moral lesson, one which will not soon be forgotten: "Never travel alone."
A major point of foreshadowing was what the oldtimer told the man. The oldtimer told the man that "no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below." If the man would have listened, he could have survived. Because he didn't listen; he lost his life.
The unidentified man in the short story has a lot perseverance and determination to reach his final destination, which are two qualities found in heroes. In the exposition of the story, it is known that he steps away from the main trail and wanders off in the Yukon to meet the other miners on a fork of Henderson creek. On his nine-hour walk in the brutal weather, he hopes to find logs in the springs from the islands. The man is a chechaquo, which means that he is a new-comer to the land and does not know what to expect because it is his first winter. During his trip, he is well aware that it is cold out, but he underestimates the weather and does not think much of it. In the short story, the narrator states, “But all of this – the mysterious, far-reaching hair-line trail, the absence of the sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, the strangeness and the weirdness of it all – made no impression on the man” (Kass, et al. 68). No matter what the conditions were, the man did not let it distract him and he decided to persist through it all. A hero will take any situation and work with it, all of t...
The external conflict of man against nature and the internal conflict of man against himself play a huge role in the whole story, leading to the fateful outcome of the man. The man fell victim to the struggles the conflicts presented, majorly impacting the story. "To Build a Fire" encompasses the idea of man becoming his own enemy and people remaining insignificant to forces of natures. The conflicts presented in the story embody the aspect of nature as an unstoppable, unpredictable, and powerful force that easily overtakes man. That thought shows how one man has little effect on nature, and in the end, does the most harm by subjecting oneself to nature's fury. The story, "To Build a Fire" by Jack London truly shows how weak an unprepared person compares to the unruly forces of nature.
In response to the romantic period (1798-1870), authors began to focus their writing on ordinary people and their everyday lives rather than the supernatural, nationalism, heroism, and strange and faraway places, themes characteristic of romantic literature. In the story “To Build a Fire” shows what a realism story looks like. Everything about it is based on real events that can happen, is realistic. Whatever happens to the man, you can relate to because you know how cold it can get and maybe you also can relate how hard it is to build a fire. A lot of people, like the man in the story, sometimes arent as bright in the head and can be the cause of their own problem. In the story there is a part where the man fails to kill the dog because his hands are frozen, shows how a lot of times you cant accomplish something, you fail. Instead of a happy ending and expecting for the man to find his way back to camp, he does not, he dies, adds that very realistic event that would of happened to many other people and the story has a bad ending
...ezing, cold weather. The two types of conflict in “The Open Boat” and “To Build a Fire” are: man vs. self and man v. nature which are common in naturalism literature. London uses naturalism to show how harsh and indifferent nature really is and how no matter what, nature will always be there. He furthermore presented the basic idea of Darwinism and the survival of the fittest, ultimately if you are not the strongest you will not survive. London showed us that we only can depend on ourselves to survive in this world or in the Yukon of Alaska. "To Build a Fire" illustrates that the closer to death the character comes, the plot declines. As the story advances, the man's ambitions go from making it to camp, to staying warm, to just simply surviving. When reading, you can sense the lack of effort on the man's part, only brings him closer to a freezing, unavoidable death.
When the narrator introduced the main character of the story, the man, he made it clear that the man was in a perilous situation involving the elements. The man was faced with weather that was 75 degrees below zero and he was not physically or mentally prepared for survival. London wrote that the cold "did not lead him to meditate upon his frailty as a creature of temperature, and upon man's frailty in general, able only to live within certain narrow limits of heat and cold."(p.1745) At first when the man started his journey to the camp, he felt certain that he could make it back to camp before dinner. As the trip progressed, the man made mistake after mistake that sealed his fate. The man's first mistake was to step into a pool of water and soak his legs to the knees. This blunder forced the man to build a fire to dry his wet socks and shoes so his feet would not freeze and become frostbitten. When the man began to build a fire he failed to notice that he was doing so under a large, snow laden spruce tree where he was getting his firewood. When the man had a small fire that was beginning to smolder the disturbance to the tree caused the snow to tumble to the ground and extinguish the fire. "It was his own fault or, rather, his mistake. He should not have built the fire under the spruce tree. He should have built it in the open."(1750).
In 'To Build a Fire,' the man's antagonist is nature: London displays the man's journey as restricted by external forces. First, the temperature of the tundra is seventy-five-below zero (978), which naturally exposes the man?s ?frailty as a creature of temperature? (977). Obviously the man is subject to the forces of winter, and can not change his homeostasis as a warm-blooded animal. Similarly, London employs the ?traps? (979) of snow-covered pools of water to show that while humans may presume we are invincible, nature will stealthily remind us of our vulnerability (through invisible germs, for example). Just as the man does not see the ?trap? (981) that soaks his legs, he fails to notice the dog?s apprehension regarding their journey (981). Here London shows man's self-proclaimed superiority is falsely assumed, as he lacks the ?instinct? (978) that the dog possess; later, the man can not kill the dog (985), which signifies the dog is not subordinate regarding survival. After the man steps in the water, London notes, ?He was angry, and cursed his luck aloud? (981). By attributing his misfortune to ?luck,? the man relieves himself of responsibility, recognizing himself as a victi...
In Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”, an unknown man is traveling alone in the extremely dangerous weather of seventy-five degrees below zero along Yukon Trail. Despite being warned about the dangers; he was bent on reaching his destination at the boy’s camp on Henderson Creek. Nevertheless, he tried many things to help keep his body warm but everything he tried failed. Close to death, he finally realized that it was impossible to survive this journey without a partner. The theme illustrates that sometimes it’s best to listen to others advice because everyone isn’t able to defeat nature.
Within London’s stories, he presents a dark tone but life lessons throughout his pieces of work. One of London’s works that mirrors dark tones, and life lessons is “To Build a Fire”. This story is about a man who is traveling in extreme, miserable cold weather conditions with his dog. Though this man was advised by an older man not to travel in these harsh conditions, he does it anyway. In this story, the man’s destination is a faraway camp with people whom in which he is supposed to meet with. At the beginning of the story, he starts out with such optimism and courage that he is going to make it to his destination with no problem. As the story goes along, his health and optimism starts to deteriorate. I loved how London, throughout the story included the turmoil that this man was starting to comprehend. For example, a sign of trouble that the man was experiencing was when the “circulation of wet and freezing feet cannot be restored by running when it is seventy-five below. No matter how fast he runs, the wet feet will freeze the harder.” (pg. 1052). At this point in the story, the stubborn man is now remembering the older man from Sulphur Creek who had warned him, and tried to give him advice. London has managed to present the downfall of the man’s well-being. As the man gets worse and his dog is no longer wanting to be in his company, the more the old man’s advice is brought up. Further in the story the man’s optimism is beginning to disperse, and he decides at one point after trying so hard will not make it to the camp. He later dies under a tree, and the dog later goes away from him, and heads to the camp alone. This story is a representation of regret and troubled events that this man endures because of his stubbornness. London was able to present a story with hope, optimism, doubt, regret, life lessons, and the reality. As a result, this is why I love this work by Jack London,
Through this plot he shows how one needs to keep in mind that, despite how much we predict that we can control something, we are still at nature's fate. Nature's scorn is shown when the central character, after passing through the foremost dangerous areas of "ice springs," thinks that he’s home free. Then he stepped one pace forward into a puddle of shallow water that goes up to his knees, and gets frostbite on his feet and loses his matches. When the man thinks that he is home free again and his fire is started and will soon be drying him, it’s put out by snow on the same tree that has given him the bra...