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An Analysis Of The Main Theme Presented Within Jack London’s Text To Build A Fire

1265 words - 6 pages

“It was a clear day, and yet there seemed an intangible pall over the face of things, a subtle gloom that made the day dark, and that was due to the absence of sun.” (Fire, 597) There was a time before humans experienced consciousness on this earth, and there will, without a doubt, be a time after. Even after humanity has long passed, the world will not cease its spinning. Some individuals like to look around and think that nature responds to the existence of humanity, however, upon further investigation you constantly see small structures being enveloped by foliage. Nature just does what nature has always done, despite the surroundings. Though humanity sometimes possesses the power to demolish pieces of nature, it will never be able to completely destroy the earth without destroying themselves. Within Jack London’s text there is a very significantly displayed relationship between human beings and nature, a relationship that ends with the death of a fairly ignorant man. London’s story allows us to see that despite the fact that a man perished at the hands of nature, the world did not pause for even a moment to commemorate this death. Jack London’s text To Build a Fire displays a theme that very strictly illustrates the fact that humanity is by far the least significant being to exist on this Earth.
The fact that the man within this text could not see even the most obvious signs of danger further proves that humanity has little significance in comparison to nature. The man within this text is repeatedly warned, in more than one medium, that it is far too dangerous to go outside in the current conditions. It is obvious that the man does in fact trust the instincts of the dog that he is traveling with, however, he does not bother to notice that even the animal that is built for these conditions, is hesitant to go out in the current conditions. Not only does he ignore that, but one of the older, more experienced men specifically tells him that it is too cold to go out and he ignores it. He describes his lack of fear as, “But all this- the mysterious, far-reaching hairline trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the weirdness of it all - made no impression on the man.” (Fire, 597) Despite the fact that there was every indication of danger, and that the man was greatly risking his life, he left anyway, because he was too stubborn to let someone dictate his life. The man refused to accept that he was wrong, and intended to prove a point by making the treacherous travel in the absolutely horrid conditions.

Within Jack London’s text, the man’s last chance at survival is ruined due to the fact that he was unable to outsmart nature. The man within this text recognizes far too late that he made a horrendous mistake. When the snow falls from the branch above the fire and suffocates it, the man scolds, not nature, but himself, taking accountability for the tragedies for the first time within the text. The truth of the matter...

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