Analysis Of To Build A Fire By Jack London

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Jack London’s short story “To Build a Fire,” tells of a man who decides upon traveling in the acutely cold and unforgiving Yukon environment alone to regroup with his friends at a distant camp. Along the trip, the man walks across a hot spring which he perceives to be safe and breaks through the ice instantly getting his feet wet. The man knows what he must do to stay alive in such a situation, to build a fire, the only challenge is keeping the fire alive in such horrid conditions. The man tries desperately to cling onto life as he is attempting to start a fire, however his multiple attempts all fail and leave him in a desperate panicked state vulnerable to nature's firm grasp pulling him closer to an untimely death. He fights with every bit of power available as the fire plan proved no worth in such extreme situations, becoming so desperate as to attempt killing his own dog to warm himself with its carcass. After many attempts at preserving his life the man finally “grows calm and decides to meet death with dignity.” This eerily human story may leave some readers uncomfortable as it conveys such a brief but close up view of death. Some questions that may remain are, why was this story written? What was the mindset behind it? And, how accurate is this depiction for the time?
John Griffith Chaney, more commonly known as Jack London was born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco, California was raised in a working-class family leading to his writings expressing many of the
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