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

“To Build A Fire” Essay

890 words - 4 pages

“To Build a Fire” is a short story written by Jack London. It is viewed as a masterpiece of naturalist fiction. “To Build a Fire” features a miner who is traveling to the Yukon Territory with a dog as his companion. The miner is the protagonist and the dog companion is called the foil. The dog plays off of the traits of the protagonist. “The central motif of “To Build a Fire” concerns the struggle of man versus nature.” (Short Story Criticism) The most argued point in the short story is the reason of the protagonist death. “Some critics believe that it was his lack of intuition and imagination that lead to his death, while others say that he dies because of panic.” (Short Story Criticism) The protagonist in “To Build a Fire” struggles in the wilderness of the Yukon and ultimately finds his death because he lacks intuition and imagination.
“To Build a Fire” centralizes on a miner traveling to meet up with fellow miners. He does not make this journey with a fellow miner. He is followed by a “wolf-dog.” (London 2) The miner travels to the Yukon Territory in a temperature of seventy-five below zero. He judges the temperature by how fast his spit freezes. “At fifty below zero it freezes as it hits the ground. He ignores the deathly cold temperature, while the dog whines and whimpers due to the extreme cold.” (London 2) The miner is warned not to travel in the extreme cold, but he ignores the warnings and travels anyway. “The protagonist eventually meets his demise because of his decision.” (London 12)
Some Critics argue that the protagonist meets death because he panics because his inability to start a fire and find shelter. They feel that in his desperation for warmth he loses hope and self control. The man ponders on ideas for warmth and tries to accomplish some but fails. “The man tries to start a fire beneath the shelter of a spruce tree but snow falls and extinguishes embers. The miner attempts to start another fire in the open but his efforts are futile.” (London 9) The miner thinks about killing his dog companion for the warmth but is too weak. “The man then panics and begins running until he can run no longer.” (London 11) The man dies shortly after many attempts to run to the camp. 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)
The protagonist meets his demise because of his lack in intuition and imagination. (Short Story Criticism) The miner heads out to the miners camp after being warned to not travel at such cold temperatures. The miner displays his...

Find Another Essay On “To Build a Fire”

To Build a Fire Essay

943 words - 4 pages characters very open. Also the setting in this story does not have many details at all. I think the main message in To Build a Fire written by Jack London is perseverance in the characters for the man to keep going in the freezing weather, the dog to not curl up and die and the man he tried so hard to make it to the camp and at least tried to get there. In To Build a Fire by Jack London the main character in the story showed a lot of perseverance to

To build a Fire Essay

1000 words - 4 pages The story “To Build a Fire” by jack London is one of the most famous stories of survival in the wilderness. The story is about a man leaving a camp to walk to another camp at a temperature of 75 degrees below zero, with an Alaskan husky dog as a companion. The story takes place in the past and was written in 1908. The man in the story is purposely not given a reputation, as the deterministic environment is additional more necessary than his free

to build a fire

1093 words - 4 pages      Interpretation “To Build a Fire”      In the story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, a man is travelling through the klondike in Alaska to find his friends, "the boys". Because the man is only quick and alert to the things of life and not the significance, he finds himself in some very bad circumstances. The man experiences several instances of bad luck such as getting

To Build a Fire

1185 words - 5 pages To build a fire is a short story written by Jack London. It is a story about an individual’s choice. The main character’s self-centeredness overcomes him, as he tries to survive the wintery weather in his travel in the Yukon Trail. He made a choice of ignoring the weather warnings, which evidenced danger in his journey. There were warnings like the absence of fellow travelers due to the cold season, but his egoism made him still embark on the

To Build a Fire

1679 words - 7 pages Author Jack London wrote "To Build a Fire," the heart-wrenching story of a man's struggle to overcome the power of nature in the most extreme temperatures. Throughout his journey along the trail in the Yukon, he underestimates nature and overestimates himself. Almost immediately his fate is revealed when London writes, "But all this---the mysterious, far-reaching hair-line trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and

"To Build A Fire" Analysis

805 words - 4 pages The story “To Build A Fire” written by Jack London has two nearly identical versions published in 1902 and 1908 respectively. The latter is better-known and more thought-provoking because of the antagonist’s death. To begin with, the adventure took place on an extremely cold day in Klondike, consisted of a man and his dog. The man was not afraid of cold and felt confident about travelling alone at fifty degrees below zero. However, he broke

To Build A Fire: Naturalism

1321 words - 5 pages “To Build A Fire” is a clear example of naturalism and follows many of its conventions. Some of the characteristics of naturalism are being conditioned or controlled by the environment, having the world understood only through objective science, conflicts which bring out the instincts of man, pessimism, and presenting a viewpoint which is detached from the reader. One characteristic of Naturalism in literature is that the characters in a story

To Build a Fire by Jack London

1783 words - 7 pages “To Build a Fire” written by Jack London in 1908, is a story of a man, who, left unnamed, sets out to traverse a dangerous trail in the Yukon territory near the end of nineteenth century. Accompanied only by a dog, t¬¬he man travels across the trail, risking his life with every step on the snow-laden path full of frozen ice-water traps. He falls into a trap and wets his feet, incurring the possibility of frostbite. The man manages to build

“To Build a Fire” Story Analysis

892 words - 4 pages The story “To Build a Fire” written by Jack London has two nearly identical versions published in 1902 and 1908 respectively. The latter is better-known and more thought-provoking because of the protagonist’s death. To begin with, the journey takes place on a cold winter day in Klondike, consists of a man and his dog. The man is ignorant of the extreme coldness and feels confident about travelling alone at fifty degrees below zero. However, he

Jack London's To Build a Fire

992 words - 4 pages Jack London's To Build a Fire Nature is always pushing man to his limits. When man heeds the warning signs that nature has to offer and those warnings of other men, he is most likely to conquer nature. When he ignores these warnings, nature is sure to defeat man. To build a fire is a prime example of this scenario. In the short story, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, an inexperienced traveler in the Yukon travels alone with his dog, even

"To Build A Fire by Jack London

1052 words - 4 pages grabbed all his matches--seventy--and lights them simultaneously, then set fire to a piece of bark. He started the fire, but in trying to protect it from pieces of moss, it soon went out.Analysis: Of course, he must continue. He had to build a new fire. It was his only chance of survival and moving on. It didn't happen though. Now the reader shifts from focusing on the man getting to his destination to the man doing whatever he can to survive and

Similar Essays

To Build A Fire Essay

579 words - 2 pages 'To Build a Fire';      In Jack London's, 'To Build a Fire';, it is obvious to see that as the story progresses, the man becomes more bestial. However at the same time the dog seems to gain the human quality of good sense. This quality of good sense, which the dog acquires, allows it to away from the same fate of the man. There are many examples of how this is portrayed as the story makes headway.   &nbsp

To Build A Fire Essay

634 words - 3 pages "To Build a Fire" In Jack London's, "To Build a Fire", it is obvious to see that as the story progresses, the man becomes more bestial. However at the same time the dog seems to gain the human quality of good sense. This quality of good sense, which the dog acquires, allows it to away from the same fate of the man. There are many examples of how this is portrayed as the story makes headway. The first example of how the man becomes

To Build A Fire Essay

1312 words - 6 pages Jack London is an American author, journalist, and social activist. When it is fifty degrees below zero, you are soaking wet, and you have just lost your last match…What will you do? To Build a Fire, one of London’s short stories, illustrates a man who leaves the Yukon trail alone to meet his companions on a day so cold that no man should travel. His only accompany is a big native husky who considered him a fire-provider. The man

"To Build A Fire" Essay

379 words - 2 pages After comparing/contrasting the movie and the short story versions of "To Build a Fire", the story version is a more effective art form. If you take the story and the book, of course stories are more detailed. Movies are too, but not as much as stories. Stories are more understandable. Because you can go back and read it, if you don't understand.The difference between the story and the movie was the story was more detailed and descriptive. It