To Build a Fire, by Jack London

887 Words4 Pages
No one plans on or even wants to lose their life due to an unfortunate mishap. Isn’t it better to check twice and thoroughly plan ahead as opposed to finding oneself in an unfortunate situation? No wonder mothers ask so many questions; they leave no scope for misunderstanding. Jack London’s “To Build A Fire,” both 1902 and 1908 versions, cause distress in readers’ minds and make them wonder how a simple topic of surviving in the cold can turn out so horrific. A handful of alterations were made to the original version of the story; some add a completely new meaning, while others only provide slight nuances. Most will find that a distinct portion of the 1908 version relates to naturalism and realism—terms that resemble the unpredictable situations in real life. Some readers—perhaps younger individuals—may prefer the 1902 version due to the fact that London initially wrote the story for a young boys’ magazine. Others, however, may enjoy the mystery and details provided in the 1908 version. While any story can create a brand new image by changing a few sentences, removing the main character’s name, reducing the level of confidence, and diminishing preparedness are some of the more obvious and worthwhile variations found between the 1902 and 1908 versions of Jack London’s “To Build A Fire,” a short story of the superior class.

As in any other story, the main character adds substance to the full picture. One of the prominent changes in the two different versions includes a name attached to the main character in the 1902 story, unlike in the 1908 one. A name adds a significant meaning; for example, a nickname could come from a person’s behavior or their interests. In 1902, London fails to arouse the readers’ curiosity because they ar...

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...itten with a lot of thought and consideration, almost a transformed plot over the course of time. Jack London’s first version may appeal to readers of a younger age simply because it contains less for the audience to contemplate over; numerous fine points are straightforward and are described without harshness. Many will find the changes between 1902 and 1908 understandable and more suitable to a wider range of readers. The modifications include additions that depict naturalism—the deleting of a name of a character, lack of perseverance, and ignorance of his whereabouts. To judge or not, everyone will do something if it assists him, whether it be Jack London, “the man”, or Tom Vincent.

Works Cited

London, Jack. “To Build a Fire.” Adventures in American Literature. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich,

1989: 483- 493

London, Jack. “To Build a Fire.” (1902) Handout.
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