He cherished the flame carefully and awkwardly. He was pleased at the speed he had made. On top of this ice were as many feet of snow. It was ten o'clock. He pictured the boys finding his body next day. Then the man drowsed off into what seemed to him the most comfortable and satisfying sleep he had ever known.
He is scared, and has a feeling of a coming death. Some of the time, he thinks correctly a "little knowledge"but as time goes on, he makes more and more foolish moves a "dangerous thing". Suddenly he bared both hands, removing the mittens with his teeth. He had forgotten for the moment that they were frozen and that they were freezing more and more.
Thus the negative events that transpire in the man's day in the story are described as "his mistake" or an accident; London notes that "it happened.
Gradually, as the flame grew stronger, he increased the size of the twigs with which he fed it. When he got back to the States he could tell the folks what real cold was He drifted on from this to a vision of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek He could see him quite clearly, warm and comfortable, and smoking a pipe.
Every stumbling block in the road makes it more difficult for the man to accomplish his goal of reaching the "destination" by nightfall. He should not have built the fire under the spruce tree.
He had forgotten to build a fire and thaw out. As the dog reluctantly follows the man across a frozen river, the dog is more cautious than the man. All a man had to do was to keep his head, and he was all right.
After a series of very unfortunate events take place, in which the man falls into the river up to his knees, gets frostbite on feet, and then loses his matches, the man ends up along the side of the trail frost bitten and frozen to death.
Jack London To Build a Fire Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.
He realized that he could not kill the dog. Lifeless they were, for he could scarcely make them move together to grip a twig, and they seemed remote from his body and from him.
Nose and cheeks were already freezing, while the skin of all his body chilled as it lost its blood. The running made him feel better. Maybe, if he ran on, his feet would thaw out; and, anyway, if he ran far enough, he would reach camp and the boys.
He was neither strong enough mentally to make rational decisions, nor did he have the right social skills, a necessity which most animals depend on, the "stick together to survive" mentality. Not only does the old man see the protagonist's stupidity, but the dog notices the man's lack of knowledge about the terrain and its obstacles after he fails to keep a fire going.
The fire was a success. Slowly, as he plowed and floundered through the snow, he began to see things again, the banks of the creek, the old timber-jams, the leafless aspens, and the sky. There was no sun nor hint of sun, though there was not a cloud in the sky.
However, the conception did not come to him in such terms. And all the time the dog ran with him, at his heels. It was the time to lie snug in a hole in the snow and wait for a curtain of cloud to be drawn across the face of outer space whence this cold came.
He stood and studied the creek-bed and its banks, and decided that the flow of water came from the right. When the man had finished, he filled his pipe and took his comfortable time over a smoke.
He remembered the advice of the old timer on Sulphur Creek, and smiled.Jack London is a poster boy for naturalism, and his short story, "To Build a Fire," is a good example of why. Naturalism is an extreme form of realism, with a heightened attention to nature and.
To Build a Fire Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.
In "To Build a Fire," Jack London shows us that nature's true value lies in the fact that it does not care about humanity. Whether he has imagination or not, the man's thoughts mean nothing in the face of the vast and cold Yukon. To Build a Fire was featured as The Short Story of the Day on Fri, Dec 29, Featured in our collection of Short Stories for Middle School I and Dog Stories.
Enjoy American Literature's Jack London images on Pinterest. In the man versus nature (sometimes called "man versus environment") conflicts, the protagonist's goals are set in opposition to some force of nature. For instance, Jack London's short story "To Build a Fire" has the unnamed protagonist struggling to survive in a vast frozen wilderness.
Nature is totally indifferent to man in Jack London's story "To Build a Fire." Nature is a simple fact. It doesn't care in the least whether the protagonist makes it .Download