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To Build A Fire Essay

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 journey alone, despite the warnings. The protagonist’s pride and arrogance leads to a regrettable outcome, as it leads to his downfall. The protagonist made the wrong choices because of his egotism, and arrogance and they led to his downfall. He defied nature due to his lack of logical judgment, and this led to his unpromising end in the story.
The protagonist was reluctant to realize that he was making a mistake by traveling in a bad weather, and this exemplifies that, his arrogance overpowered his rationale. Before his trip, he had no knowledge or the weather conditions at that time on the Yukon trail to Henderson Creek. He was an inexperienced, ignorant, and conceited traveler as it is confirmed through his ignorance of the bad weather. London writes, “He took off the glove on his right hand. He opened his jacket, and shirt," he did this despite knowing that it was very cold, and this could make him freeze ( London 650). After realizing he was freezing, he quickly puts them on again, but never learns. In another incident, "His wet feet had frozen. He could not feel his fingers. His nose was frozen, too. The skin all over his body felt cold," but he never halted his journey, he kept moving (London 651). The protagonist failed to see the danger that was ahead of him, and disregarded all the numbness he felt in his body, and continued with the journey. The man was so ignorant because, in a man who is not self-centred, and thinks logically is to halt his journey, and go back to where he came from for the fear of his life. However, this did not happen with our protagonist.
In the short story To Build a Fire, the protagonist lacks the understanding of reality. He was short sighted because, he sees danger ahead of him, but assumes that there is nothing wrong. He was insensitive to the harsh weather conditions he was facing. The narrator saw the effects of the harsh cold weather, but he exhorts himself in continuing with the journey to the camp. He was just trying to be stubborn, and his pride made him believe that he will be a hero by beating all the odds of the cold weather, by reaching the camp safe and sound. The narrator was overestimating his abilities, and his pride and arrogance clouds his logical thinking into making the right choice, which was to turn back, other than moving on with the journey.
The narrator negated the advice given to him that, "no man should travel alone in the Yukon when the temperature is sixty degrees below zero." He failed to heed to the advice because he thought of how he...

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