This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Fire Not Built Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

A Fire Not Built
“To Build a Fire”, a short story written by Jack London, is viewed as a masterpiece of naturalist fiction. “To Build a Fire” features a miner and his wolf-dog companion who are traveling in the Yukon Territory to meet fellow miners. The miner is the protagonist and the wolf-dog companion is the foil because the wolf-dog plays off of the traits of the protagonist. The central theme of “To Build a Fire” concerns the struggle of man versus nature. “To Build a Fire” tells of a man traveling in the extreme cold through the Yukon Territory. Before heading out on his journey, the man is warned not to travel alone in the extreme cold, but he travels any way. The man faces many hardships while on his journey. Despite his effort to stay warm and survive, the man freezes to death before he reaches his destination. The wolf-dog in the story studies the situation and knows that traveling is not a good idea. The wolf-dog stays with the miner until his death. Once the miner dies, the wolf-dog finishes his journey by heading off to the miners’ camp on his own. The most argued point of this short story is the reason for the protagonist’s death. Even though the miner in “To Build a Fire” eventually panics after being unable to start a fire, he struggles in the wilderness of the Yukon Territory and ultimately finds his death due to ignorance caused by a lack intuition and imagination.
Contrary to the idea of the miner dieing because of lack of intuition and imagination, critics say that he dies because of panic (Short Story Criticism). The theory of the miner dieing because of panic is faulty. Evidence shows that the miner panics, but he does not do so until the end of the story. At the beginning of his journey the miner shows no sign of panic. He only begins to panic when his efforts to keep warm fail. “The man tries to start a fire beneath the shelter of a spruce tree but snow falls and extinguishes the embers. The miner attempts to start another fire in the open but the wind is too strong to keep a flame going” (London 9). The miner does not know what to do when his survival tactics fail. The miner thinks about killing his wolf-dog companion for the warmth his body will provide but is too weak physically to accomplish the task. “The man then panics and begins running until he can run no longer” (11). The miner dies shortly after many attempts to run to the camp. He should have panicked when his begins began to freeze, but he shows no concern. These facts lead some critics to believe that the protagonist dies as a result of panic and the failure of his rational faculties (Short Story Criticism). However, the miner only begins to panic when he feels death coming and realizes that death is unavoidable.
The protagonist ultimately meets his death because of his lack in intuition and imagination. The miner displays his lack of intuition many times throughout the story. The miner heads out to the miners camp after being warned to not travel...

Find Another Essay On A Fire Not Built

Understanding Wildfire Suppression Essay

2961 words - 12 pages main methods of perimeter control-- direct and indirect attack" ("Wildfire Control: An…"). On less intense fires, direct attack is used. This method is where the fire line is built directly along the edge of the fire. When the fire is too hazardous to approach or the conditions are not right, the indirect method is used. This attack is done by firefighters clearing a fire line far away from the fire so that when it reaches the fireline, there is

Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire Essay

1953 words - 8 pages better understand the dynamics of this fire, one must first take a look at the background of the building and the conditions that existed prior to the fire. At the time of the fire, the 54,000 square foot building was divided into nineteen separate rooms (Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire D-10). The original building was built in the 1940’s, but had recently been subject to numerous remodeling and additions. According to the "Investigative Report to

Blacwater fire Changes Methods of Firefighting in 1937

1034 words - 4 pages The Blackwater fire of 1937 was a forest fire that occurred when a lightning strike ignited a tree in the Shoshone National Forest. It lasted for 6 days and killed 15 people, injuring a further 38; David P. Godwin (investigator of the fire) said,“not since 1910 have so many lives been lost on a single national forest fire”. The fire consumed a total of 1700 acres of forest woodland1 in this time. The Blackwater fire’s dire effect therefore

The Iroquois Theater Fire

1363 words - 6 pages left nearly 120 people dea and nearly a 100 of them injured. It occurred 60 years ago, and to my knowledge is still the deadlist hotel fire in the history of the United States. “A flawed building design was a major factor to the ridiculous number of deaths and injuries” said Chris Jelenwicz. During that time, the hotel had only one stairway for exiting which was available, the stairway was not fire-rated. According to Jelenwicz, “once the fire had

Fire Safety

1008 words - 4 pages Fire Safety Essay      After a recent fire at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ killed three students who did not respond to what they thought was a false alarm, officials at Oswego State University are being especially careful when it comes to the issue of fire safety. This semester there is a new policy regarding the confiscation of items considered being hazardous. The policy states that any items that are

Fire Protection Review Plan

1035 words - 4 pages should be indicated clearly and in a well understood language, to allow a layman to use them without any difficulties. This means that the use of these equipments should not be complicated and thus any person should be able to use them easily in case of fire despite his/her education level, social status, exposure and age, among other factors. It is important to train people in the organization or premises on how to use the firefighting equipments

Rhode Island Nightclub Fire Incident

1015 words - 4 pages sound treatment in buildings, it was not treated with fire retardants. Due to the size and age of the building (built before 1976), safety regulations said that the nightclub did not have to have a sprinkler system, and it thus did not have one. The fire originating on the stage quickly filled the club with toxic smoke from the burning polyurethane and other building materials. In the shear moment of panic, the people caused a scene of chaotic

Fire Protection needs Protection of the Law

1505 words - 6 pages Fire Protection needs Protection of the Law In 1864 Major Stewart Harrison, an English Engineer, gave to the world the first Automatic Sprinkler Head, his design was also in fact superior to many that followed it. But, as so often happens, it was not Mr. Harrison who gave the automatic sprinkler a practical

Triangle: The Fire that Changed America

1620 words - 6 pages 8th floor of the Asch Building in a scrap bin. There are many people that could be blamed for the fire, but Blanck and Harris were not the only ones. Another issue that can be blamed is the building itself. The fire escapes were very poorly built. “The Asch Building fire escape was badly conceived, badly designed, and badly installed” (147). When the fire department came the ladder was not tall enough to reach the top of the Asch Building where the

The Great Fire of London

1816 words - 7 pages helped arrest the disease (Alagna 11). Fires in London were not unusual because of the close proximity of homes and the common use of open flames in or around the structures. Before any massive fire destruction in London, the inevitable small fires were considered a problem left for locals to handle. No organized fire company existed. To stop fires, people pulled down buildings around the flames to make a firebreak which usually successfully

History of the Fire Service

2274 words - 9 pages (Britannica). Just as things seemed to be going great, a destructive fire demolished most of Jamestown, includingthe colonists' provisions and lodgings. It was clear that Smith had to do something in order to control these devastating fires, but he was not sure what that was. Fire prevention in the United States is said to be created in 1630 in Boston. At this time, Boston's Governor John Winthrop outlawed wooden chimneys and thatched

Similar Essays

The Great Fire Of London Of 1666

1824 words - 8 pages materials together. Pitch also acted as a water proof coating for the wood, keeping moisture out, and preventing harm to the wood. Builders formed the roofs of houses from straw. It was not uncommon to see fires in London since not only were the houses highly flammable, but because open flame heated the homes. London used to be extremely crowded; with the houses being built close together, fire could easily spread from house to house and become a

Did Mrs. O. Leary´S Cow Really Start The Chicago Fire?

1599 words - 7 pages Did Mrs. O Leary’s cow really start the Chicago fire? Some might say that the cow did start the fire, but there are other theories that disprove this theory. The Chicago fire happened in 1871. It was a catastrophic day in Chicago. Even though it was catastrophic and did some really bad things, it also led to industrialization in Chicago, and made Chicago what it is today. Without the fire Chicago might not be the metropolis it is today. What

Chicago Fire Essay

4053 words - 17 pages of the business district and when reaching the district the fire no longer needed the help of the wind and moved north not needing any more of the poorly built houses for fuel to travel and turned into a firestorm but the fire wasn't finished it had only just begun and got ahold of the gasworks and managed to get ahold of a giant holding tank making it explode. The exploded gas tank added to the size of the fire and with the gas tank gone the gas

The Great Boston Fire Of 1872

2508 words - 10 pages . These faults were primarily due to rust, pipe size, fractures, or another area using too much water and therefore draining the surrounding vicinity. Another pressing issue that presented itself in Boston’s Great Fire was that because not all of the hydrants were built in the same period, the outlets were of different types, so some steamers were incompatible with the water supplies nearby the front of the fire they meant to fight. Had the local