Analysis Of Jack London's Short Story : To Build A Fire

891 WordsSep 17, 20174 Pages
Jack London’s short story, “To Build a Fire” follows a man through his short-lived journey through the Yukon as he attempts to reach camp. “The man” heads into the blistering cold not thinking much of the temperature. Eventually, the man must stop to build a fire to warm himself up and eat his lunch, but he does not stay as long as he should have. Without warning, the man falls into the water, now he must stop once more to make a fire or he will freeze to death. After making the fire, snow falls into the fire, thus putting it out. Being scared of freezing to death, the man now runs full speed to the campsite. Tragically, he does not reach the camp and he dies from frostbite. Being prepared to face the force of nature is more difficult than…show more content…
The main character’s name has symbolic significance in that when it comes to nature, men often ignore the warnings that they receive and assume that nature is not dangerous. Early on in the story, the man mentions that “but the temperature did not matter.” (65) This is exactly what causes the man’s demise towards the end of the story. London mentions all throughout the story how cold it is. It is a recurring statement meant to emphasize just how cold it is. Here is one of many examples, “It certainly was cold, was his thought.” (70) The man chooses to ignore the constant numbness he feels from the cool wind and freezing temperatures. By the end of the story, the man conclusively understands that it really is too cold to be traveling. Unfortunately, this realization comes far too late. The weather throughout the story proves just how dangerous it can be. Notwithstanding the fact that nature is not a living being, it can often seem so in how dangerous and calculating nature is. The most dangerous situations with nature are the things that aren’t expected. One example of this happens towards the end of the story. The man has to build a second fire due to falling into the water. Consequently, because he built the fire under a snowy tree and starts to move the tree, the snow falls on top of the fire and causes it to go out. The dangers of nature become abundantly clear when London writes, “A large piece of a wet plant fell on
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