The Flame of Life

807 Words4 Pages
A single word inserted or removed can change the feeling of a story in an instant; creating tingles that trickle along the length of your spine or even a compulsive movement to put down the piece and never pick it up again. In many cases an author will write and rewrite their tales until they are perfect. Jack London was very much one of these authors, sending his first version of “To Build a Fire” to a magazine before rewriting it into the masterpiece of which many are more familiar with today. However, only one of the versions strongly exemplifies the hard truth and fight against uncontrollable and unpredictable nature which is realism and naturalism. In many ways are London’s two distinct pieces of work similar, but also…show more content…
So, one man was a physical being, set in stone, while the other was simply a figure of our imaginations per say, molded to our own liking – one merely arrogant, the other simply ignorant. The main character frozen and idiotic, was drastically changed in these two works.
The details in London’s works consume us, and wrap us in his vivid, yet simple and repetitive descriptions of the settings of his works. In “To Build a Fire” the depiction of the bitter cold and the biting frost are what make the reader seem almost cold themselves, and understand how intense and severe it was – a perfect example of realism. The harsh ways in which he wrote – pounding every sense of numbness the man was feeling into the reader – chilled us to the bone in the 1908 adaption. London states in the second variation, “He did not expose his fingers more than a minute and was astonished at the swift numbness that smote them…He pulled the mitten on hastily, and beat the hand savagely across his chest” (486). Meanwhile, the 1902 version simply let us know that it was quite cold and that this man would simply survive even though he may have had to work for it, there is nothing urgent about the piercing frost. Strong cases of Naturalism and Realism are evident in the 1908 version. In the latter adaption, London changed key words and elongated
Get Access