Essay on Man vs. Environment in To Build a Fire by Jack London

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One can express many different types of themes in Jack London’s, “To Build a Fire”. Though I feel strongly that London’s theme in the story is about that the environment shapes who we are because it shows that the man is not strong enough to live up to his environment. Allowing the environment to kill the man indicates that he is weak both mentally and biologically, while on the other hand the dog is stronger by surviving the same harsh environment. Instinct superior to reason is another theme that is highly portrayal able in London’s story. In order for the dog to survive and the man to die, the dog required instinct, of which the man lacked. The man did acquire reason and observance but not good enough to allow him to reach his goal …show more content…
The man is also weak in the face of nature as nature tortures him with the physical accidents the man suffers. He firstly begins when his cheekbones and nose went numb and becomes worse as he looses touch and grasp of his hands, finishing off with the freezing of his corpse and sudden stiff death. London exclaims about the accounts the man has suffered, “This man did not know cold.” (London, 487) and “He was loosing in his battle with the frost.” (London, 493) I do agree because the man is a new comer, a chechaquo, meaning that it is the man’s first contact with such freezing environment. The man constantly through out the story efforts in combating against the forces of nature that he can not control the reason being because he was inexperienced to such environment, therefore the man is bound to be with the odds and like London exclaims, loose his battle with his environment. The environment shaped him such that it proved he is not fit enough to live in the extreme cold.
Alternatively, the dog has a different biology make up than the human. The husky dog has a thick furry coat cuddling his warm body. Even though the dog probably never experienced such climate as the man, its biology make up allows the dog to survive and is therefore fit enough to support such extreme cold. The other difference between the man and the dog is