The Importance of Setting in Jack London's To Build A Fire Essay

The Importance of Setting in Jack London's To Build A Fire Essay

Length: 1451 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Importance of Setting in Jack London's To Build A Fire

 
    In "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, the setting plays a

significant role throughout the entire short story.  Jack London uses

certain techniques to establish the atmosphere of the story.  By

introducing his readers to the setting, prepares them for a tone that is

depressed and  frightening.    Isolated by an environment of frigid

weather and doom, the author shows us how the main character of the story

is completely unaware of his surroundings.  The only world the man is truly

accustomed to, is his own.  Never being exposed to such a harsh climate,

draws us to the conclusion that the environment is the determining factor

of his survival, as well as his dog's too.  Anything that the man and his

dog comes into contact with, creates an anticipation for disaster in the

story.

 

      London places a strong emphasis on the setting in the introduction

to the story.  "Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey..."

He repeats these phrases to redefine to his readers the impact the setting

has on the lives of the characters.  The gloominess of the setting instills

feelings in the man and the dog, of a constant battle with this world of

depression they are in.  Being given no sense of imagination, the man is

only gifted with his practical knowledge.   He therefore is shown to lack

the experience and thought to adapt to the conditions encompassing him.

 

      Typically, man never wants to deal with the reality, especially

when it is unpleasant.  "But all this-the mysterious, far-reaching hairline

trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendou...


... middle of paper ...


...he man didn't listen to the advice of experienced

people, he was ignorant and never expected to be defeated by the climate.

If the man had prepared himself for the worst, his death would not have

been inevitable.  Providing the separation between survival an death, the

setting was the most important factor in "To Build a Fire" by Jack London.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Hendricks, King. Jack London: Master Craftsman of the Short Story. Logan: Utah State U P,

1966. Rpt. In Jack London: Essays in Criticism. Ed. Ray Wilson Ownbey. Santa Barbara:

 Peregrine, 1978. 13-30.

London, Jack. "To Build a Fire." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama.

6th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 118-29.

Perry, John. Jack London: An American Myth. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

An Analysis of Jack London's To Build a Fire Essay

- An Analysis of Jack London's To Build a Fire In her cultural criticism of Jack London's "To Build a Fire", Jill Widdicombe explores the question of whether the story's protagonist might have perished from the extreme cold of the Klondike winter even if with a traveling companion. She describes the brutality of the winter weather and, alluding to the man's confidence in his ability to survive the weather, describes it as "behavior most of us can understand" - especially if we are accustomed to warmer surroundings....   [tags: London To Build a Fire Essays]

Free Essays
474 words (1.4 pages)

Free Essays - A lack of Respect in To Build a Fire

- A lack of Respect “To Build a Fire” by Jack London is a short story about a man traveling along the Yukon River in the bitter winter weather. While warned against traveling alone in the frigid cold, he ventures out to meet his companions at a remote camp many miles away, with only his dog. Overcome by nature’s power, he eventually perishes along the way, leaving his four-legged partner to complete the journey alone. The story displays how the forces of nature can surprisingly overwhelm even the most confident of men....   [tags: London To Build a Fire Essays]

Free Essays
789 words (2.3 pages)

The Theme of To Build a Fire Essay

- The struggle between man and nature is a common theme in a lot of literary pieces. Some exaggerate the role of either nature or man; however, this tale exposes weaknesses of both sides and provides an interesting twist. Through the use of both flat and round characters, involved in a specific life changing event, will lead to a role reversal that proves nature will truly win out over nurture in some situations. Mr. London involves the reader and prepares the plot through specific uses of Character, Point of view and demonstrates his view on which will be the victor....   [tags: Man and Nature, Literary Analysis, Jack London]

Powerful Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Survival 101: Instinct or Knowledge?

- At first glance, Jack London’s, “To Build a Fire” seems like a generic story about the sufferings and unfortunate mishaps that a man and his dog encounter on their trip through the Yukon Wilderness. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent that this story not only tells the story of a man’s journey through the Yukon Wilderness with his dog, but it also compares instinct with knowledge and how each can affect survival ability in the wilderness. The protagonist, an unnamed man, has great scientific knowledge but does not know how to use his knowledge, especially in crucial times....   [tags: Jack London, To Build a Fire]

Powerful Essays
1225 words (3.5 pages)

Survival in the Wild: Jack London's To Build a Fire and Arthur Gordon's Sea Devil

- Anxiety, suspense, hesitation, and death; these all revolve around survival, which lets humans go over their limits and see what they’re really capable of. Survival is a mix of physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Though there are many stories that challenges man over his abilities, there are two stories that show survival that question our dominance as human beings. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London and “Sea Devil” by Arthur Gordon are both about characters that have caught themselves in a battle between man and nature....   [tags: Survival, Man vs Nature, Analysis]

Powerful Essays
896 words (2.6 pages)

Jack London 's Message Of A Fire Essay

- Jack London’s message in the writing “To Build a Fire” is to never underestimate the power of nature and following Experience would actually show someone that instincts should be trusted over ego and pride. London is known for being a Naturalist, naturalists are people that practice nature in literature or writings, naturalists believed that one’s surviving methods highly involve using one 's instinct. London’s “cautionary realist/ naturalist” text in the story “to build a fire” advices methods on the survivals of nature 's forces, this is a highly appropriate advice considering our struggle against disastrous natural phenomena such as global warming, tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions,...   [tags: Human, Natural environment, Instinct, Humans]

Powerful Essays
1552 words (4.4 pages)

To Build a Fire, by Jack London Essay

- 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....   [tags: To Build a Fire, Jack London]

Powerful Essays
887 words (2.5 pages)

Jack London : Foreshadowing, Repetition, And Conflict Essay examples

- Arrogance is defined as having or revealing an exaggerated sense of ones’ own importance or abilities (dictionary.com). In “To Build a Fire,” Jack London uses foreshadowing, repetition, and conflict to represent the extent the main character goes to in order to satisfy his need for greed. The main character, referred to as “the man,” and his dog go on an expedition to a mining camp in the Alaskan Klondike in search of gold. The man is told by an elder Alaskan native to never travel alone, but instead of listening to the native the main character decides to try and make the journey on his own in order to reunite with his friends at the camp....   [tags: Fiction, Short story, Character, The Sopranos]

Powerful Essays
746 words (2.1 pages)

Jack London's To Build a Fire Essay

- Jack London's To Build a Fire Nature is always pushing man to his limits. When man heeds the warning signs that nature has to offer and those warnings of other men, he is most likely to conquer nature. When he ignores these warnings, nature is sure to defeat man. To build a fire is a prime example of this scenario. In the short story, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, an inexperienced traveler in the Yukon travels alone with his dog, even though it is ill advised to do so. The man is strong and smart but nature humbled him during his quest to reach his friends....   [tags: London Jack Build Fire Essays]

Powerful Essays
989 words (2.8 pages)

A Critique of Jack London's To Build a Fire Essay

- A Critique of Jack London's To Build a Fire Karen Rhodes analyzed to build a fire in a cultural context. He believed "London's works were written so that he could survive in a world he increasingly came to see as "red in tooth and claw""(1). It is obviously the story of a man fighting the stresses of Nature. According to Rhodes, to build a fire was drawn from the year London spent in Canada's Yukon Territory. London depicted arctic and very cold conditions throughout the story. Rhodes believed to build a fire represented London's Naturalistic Flavor....   [tags: London To Build a Fire Essays]

Free Essays
513 words (1.5 pages)