Analyze the main character’s positive and negative qualities in “To build a fire” (Version 1902)

1481 WordsApr 14, 20146 Pages
Based on real experiences, Jack London’s stories of high adventures have been appealing to millions of readers worldwide. With naturalism mode of fiction and a common topic - vigorous nature - in his works, the great author always took great care to depict his characters and the struggles with nature to expose man’s qualities in formidable situations. “To build a fire” is a good example. By creating a context of severe weather with white frost dominating throughout the story, Jack London was successful in portraying his protagonist Tom Vincent with all positive and negative qualities. The character’s positive qualities were revealed from the beginning of the story. In the first page, readers can easily perceive that Tom Vincent…show more content…
The fire went out. Again, he ran, in his most terrible panic, but the only thing he could find was an empty shelter of moose-hunters. This time, he felt so badly frightened that he sank down and sobbed, nearly accepting that everything was over. When all the doors seemed to be closed, his love of life burned strongly than ever. He “sprang again to his feet”, thinking quickly, and found out a way to save his life - burning his hands to regain their sense. He set his teeth to bear the pain caused by the fire licking his flesh. Apparently, that he writhed around with the torment, yet held on the fire, was the greatest evidence of his tough survival instinct. The heroic measure and the amazing bravery to act over the extremity saved him from death. Through Tom Vincent’s continuous attempts to build a fire, readers can see clearly the character’s durability and iron will. Despite the severe hardship, he made great efforts; despite the great efforts, he made continuous failures; despite the continuous failures, he always gave himself another opportunity to survive. Beside the positive qualities, readers could see the presence of negative traits in the character’s personality, which brought him very close to death. Tom Vincent was exposed as an overconfident, subjective and arrogant young man. Ignoring the precept of the north, “Never travel alone”, Tom, by himself, started his

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