To Build a Fire Analysis

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Literature

Document 1

This character tries to save his life by planning to increase his body temperature through running but realizes the futility of his efforts. He tries to light a fire to warm his body and avoid freezing in the cold but nature punishes him when it is impossible to light a fire; eventually, the man dies in the freezing cold. The author’s central idea is to show the conflict between man and nature as well as warning the audience of the dangers of ignorance. Through the predicaments of the main character in “To Build a Fire” Jack London suggests that it is important to take advice and be more analytic of situations before making any decisions. The main character in the story is a lone hiker who sets out on a journey to meet his friends in a different camp through a cold and vast environment amid eminent warnings of the dangers that lurk outside.

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He warns the newcomer that it may be dangerous to travel alone but does not explain what dangers may be lurking. The tension builds when the protagonist decides to travel alone in the bad weather; "He remembered the advice of the old man on Sulphur Creek" (London 72). The conflict of the story is also created through Sulphur Creek when it is revealed to the reader that he was not willing to listen to the old man's travel advisory; "That man from Sulphur Creek had spoken the truth when telling how cold it sometimes got in this country" (London 70). He regretted not listening to the old man but at this time, there was no way to turn back; "That showed one must not be too sure of things" (70).

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