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"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 through a thin skin of ice unexpectedly and wet himself halfway to the knees. In the attempt to dry his feet, the man built a fire, only the have it extinguished by a pile of snow unloaded from a tree. He tried to set up aother fire, yet all atempts ...view middle of the document...

In addition, the setting plays a big role in developing the conflict in the story. The man’s adventure happened on an extremely cold day in Klondike during gold rush. First of all if the man wasn’t travelling in Klondike, he would not have the concerns of freezing to death. Gold rush tells the readers that the technology was very limited back then and the man had to rely on himself. The author also used descriptive phrases to give the story a gloomy and hopeless atmosphere. In the first paragraph, the weather was said to be “cold and grey, extremely cold and grey.” The phrases “cold and grey” is repeated to emphsize the coldness and darkness. “There was no sun nor hint of the sun” shows the heaviness and lifelessness of the sky. Theman travelling on his own reveals that he was lonely and helpless. The setting gives the readers a tragic feeling and is reflected by the man’s death as resolution. Hence, setting is well-chosen and significant in the story “To Build A Fire”.
Last but not least, the author used a large amount of foreshadowing to build tension and give hints about what would happen next. “He was a new comer in the land, a cheechako, and this was his first winter”...

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