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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 will and individuality. His aim at the start of the story is to reach the camp to meet "the boys," presumptively to prospect for gold.
The man's greatest deficiency, resulting in his death, is his inability to think about the long term consequences of present actions or fact. The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert within the things of life but only in the things and not in the significance. London describes how the extreme cold does not make the man meditate upon mortality. More pertinently, the man does not notice that building a fire under a spruce tree may be dangerous. The plot in this story is one of a man trying to conquer the last frontier.
Through this plot he shows how one needs to keep in mind that, despite how much we predict that we can control something, we are still at nature's fate. Nature's scorn is shown when the central character, after passing through the foremost dangerous areas of "ice springs," thinks that he’s home free. Then he stepped one pace forward into a puddle of shallow water that goes up to his knees, and gets frostbite on his feet and loses his matches. When the man thinks that he is home free again and his fire is started and will soon be drying him, it’s put out by snow on the same tree that has given him the branches to create his fire.
The old man had warned the younger one regarding trailing in the back country in such crisp weather. The young man disregarded the warnings and went out anyway. The man also refuses to listen to the dog, which cower away and even wants to return to the first fire that the man constructs. The dog slips his tail between his legs and whimper for the man to return to the warmth. The animal was depressed by the intense cold. It knew that it had been wrong time for travelling. The dog is trying to show the man, that it was foolish to try to travel in such weather.
He most likely had nothing to prove but to increase his self-esteem. London uses the theme of rugged independence to show how sometimes we do not need to be alone. For instance, if the man had been traveling with a friend in place of a dog, then he would most likely survive. Instead the man tries to manifest his ruggedness by traveling alone. London...

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