In Jack London’s short story, To Build a Fire, there is an unnamed man who is trying to make it back to his camp in the freezing weather of the Yukon. The man travels only with a sled dog and himself in the 50 degree below zero weather. Throughout the short story, the man struggles to survive as he soon realizes the temperature is actually severely dangerous at 75 degrees below zero. In the end, the man ultimately dies before successfully reaching his camp due to not being able to build a fire on time to stay warm. While laying on the cold ground finally accepting his death, the man thinks back to before he went out an old man warned him of the dangers of traveling alone out in this kind of weather. He accepts he was wrong to not head the …show more content…
Throughout his entire journey back to his camp, the man would show ignorance when he didn't understand how cold the weather really was. He would continually think to himself how it’s just a little bit of cold. It'll only cause some pain and discomfort. Nothing too dangerous or life-threatening. Due to his inexperience in this freezing weather, mixed in with his ignorance, the man’s death was certain. “Once in a while the thought repeated itself that it was very cold and the he had never experienced such cold. As he walked along he rubbed his face and nose with the back of his mittened hand. He did this without thinking, frequently changing hands. But, with all his rubbing, the instant he stopped, his face and nose became numb. His face would surely be frozen. He knew that and he was sorry that he had not worn the sort of nose guard Bud wore when it was cold. Such a guard passed across the nose and covered the entire face. But it did not matter much, he decided. What was a little frost? A bit painful, that was all. It was never serious.” (London 68) Comparing the man with his own dog, the reader is able to see a massive difference between the the master and pet. The man isn’t worried in the slightest about the weather causing any sort of damage to his own health. On the other hand, the dog’s instincts are at full capacity alarming the dog that it is extremely dangerous to be in this type of weather, and
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“It’s only cold if you’re standing still” unfortunately for the man In “To Build A Fire” by Jack London this wasn’t true, with the harsh Yukon climate coming after him. The man could not move any body parts or even being able to feel your fingers. The man and his dog were out all by themselves in the harsh miserable weather when they got lost and could not find their way back to camp. The man then made a few decisions that forced him into not being able to bear the cold and forcing him to choose death over fighting. The man made many preposterous mistakes however, there were three main mistakes that got him killed. The three irrational mistakes that the man made to force him to death were unsuccessful fires, stepping into the ice/water trap, also the man went out against an old timer's
At first he though that it was only a small problem and the cold might cost him a couple of fingers, but towards the end he realized that it was his life that he was fighting for. When the fire failed the second time he became desperate. "He remembered the tale of the man, caught in a blizzard, who killed a steer and crawled inside his carcass, and so was saved." This "put a wild idea into his head," "He would kill the dog and bury in the warm body until the numbness went out of them." When the man failed to kill the dog "A certain fear of death, dull and oppressive, came over him." He began to panic and run blindly to the camp. Although he knew he lacked the endurance he drove forward until collapsing for the final time. Once again he saw the warm dog and became angry and envious of his warmth. Eventually he sat up and decided to meet "death with dignity." After he accepts his death he has an out of body experience, and then "drowsed off into what seemed to him the most comfortable and satisfying sleep that he had ever known."
Alone on the Yukon trail, there was a man climbing in negative 50 degree weather. He did not believe it when they said it would be that cold. As the temperature dropped below 50 degrees, the man realized it was quite cold. The only thing to keep him warm was fire. He climbs for many hours, trying to get back to camp and to the boys. However right now he was alone with a dog. The only reason the dog stuck by him was so the man could make fire. “The dog had learned about fire, and it wanted fire.” however the only way it could obtain fire is if the man made it. No matter what happened the dog kept coming back for the fire. He walked as far as he could before he
It appears that he believes that man should become closer to nature and the things that we have created to make life easier for ourselves are making our week. As the tale goes on the man begins to endure the cold and dangerous trials and test of the Yukon. He reaches the point where he is trying to start a fire with matches but, his hands are freezing cold. He has realized the dangers of the Yukon but he chooses to ignore them. The unnamed man believes that he can just keep on moving along with no real concern for his safety. He feels he is strong and can defeat nature. Instead, he dies from the bitter cold as his dog watches on. The epiphany was that it was too cold not to build a fire (75 degrees below 0.) and that he had been a fool to believe he was stronger than
Imagine being in -75 degrees celsius or lower weather, with only a few layers of clothing on your body. Also in an isolated area with no people for many miles and freezing to death. This is exactly what happened in the story “How to build a fire” by Jack London. But what actually kills the man is not how cold it is, what leads the man to his death is his arrogance, his attitude, and him being simply foolish.
In “To Build a Fire,” the man seems naïve to a fault. He is described by the narrator as a “newcomer,” and one should not travel alone in the freezing cold winters when it’s “fifty degrees below zero” (1048). He was too confident in his abilities as a human to survive in the freezing temperatures. “[The temperature] did not lead him to meditate upon his frailty as a creature,” (1048). This insight in the story leads the reader to believe that he will not outlast the cold due to his insignificant amount of thought put forth in the matter.
In the beginning, the man assumes he wouldn’t get cold from nature but in fact ends up so frigid that he is in desperate need of building a fire. “It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning
In the excerpt “To Build a Fire” by Jack London a man decides to travel alone in the cold, ignoring the advice of others. This man has very little experience traveling in the dangerous Yukon wilderness especially when it is- 75 degrees below zero. He had a choice to stay at home safe of the danger ahead of him, but “This man didn’t know cold. Probably all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant to cold” (line 4 and 5).
This is my sixth day on the ice. This is the first time the weather has been calm enough for me to take off my gloves. I want to leave this missive in case I don’t make it back home. I started on my journey with a team of seven dogs and my Inuit guide. Three of the dogs were lost in the white out. The wind howled and we tried to dig in, but my guide slipped and cut his leg with his knife. He lasted three days, and I can still hear his moaning as he finally gave in to the cold and the infection that festered in his leg. I lost my goggles in the storm and the white is nearly blinding. I have never felt this cold. I feel as if I am close to the grave. The light is slipping away and I know that the approaching night may bring my death. I need
Although the man in this story has not been given a name, pride and arrogance loudly scream from the very beginning to the very end. The first sign of pride sneaked out in the open from the statement, “He was not alarmed by the lack of sun. It had been days since he had seen the sun” (London). The man still chose to travel on the main Yukon trail. “Do not travel alone the old-timer from Sulphur Creek advised” (London). Even though the man had very little knowledge and foresight of what lay ahead on the open trail, the man laughed at the advice cautioning him on the extreme cold. Dangers do have a way of attacking around the corner before you even know what has hit you. Pride and arrogance protruded from the man each step he made on this
We are reminded at this point of the cold as London dwells on the fact. London seems to constantly reiterate the fact the man is underprepared, unknowledgeable of his surroundings, and appears to lack basic instincts which all keeps the air tense and waiting. “This man did not know the cold… But the dog knew” (London 131). London directly compares the man to his wolf dog, who is accustomed to the weather, and instantly knows more than the man and is on edge the entire time we see him.
As the man travels on through the freezing temperatures he is remind of advice from and old wise man, he had been warned of traveling alone and the dangers that could come with someone making such decisions. The traveler was hopeful of making it back to camp by six o’clock, and an hour into his travels he is ready to stop and eat his lunch with pride in his traveling progress. However, an hour into his travels the arrogant man was more concerned with chewing his tobacco, than thinking of potential dangers despite his warnings, so he stopped for lunch, never sharing with his only traveling companion, his loyal dog.
His choice of words and descriptions allow the reader to picture the Yukon Trail and surrounding landscape. The descriptions also give the reader vivid insight into the extreme conditions that the man is subject to during his travels. The lengthy description of the snow, ice, and the man’s beard, face, hands, and feet allow the reader to feel as though they are experiencing the story in his or her own head. At the beginning of the story, London repeats the temperature multiple times which is an indicator that it is going to play a main part in the man’s survival or ultimate death. The main characters surrounding caused him to evolve during the course of the story. At the beginning, he did not fully comprehend the problems associated with subzero temperatures. The man believed he would reach camp by night fall where a fire and hot food would be waiting for him. At the time, he did not contemplate the challenges of seventy-five degrees below zero. After walking for
In some moments, he seems to predict his approaching death; while in others, he seems to have faith in his survival. These shifting reactions represent the universal themes of optimism and denial. When the snow falls on his fire, the man’s initial shock displays his knowledge of his upcoming death, but his calm reaction and quick response seem optimistic. He instinctively wants to continue to live, so he refuses to give up on his survival. As he repeatedly drops the matches, he tries to innovate.
Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire” begins and ends with a man and his dog. At the story’s outset we learn not only that the day is “exceedingly cold and gray” but that “this fact did not worry the man”. He is described as “without imagination”, and doesn’t appreciate the significance of things around him. Despite warnings from others, as well as from his dog - who acts very apprehensively due to his instinctual knowledge “that it was no time for traveling”- the man makes the decision to trek for miles, alone, in negative seventy-five degree weather. Even after disaster strikes, he continued to scoff at the advice he was given to never travel on his own in such temperatures, going so far as to think that those who cautioned him against