Essay on To Build a Fire by Jack London

“To Build a Fire” written by Jack London can truly be considered as a work of art. With themes anyone can relate to, such as survival and man versus nature, it is a great short story for anyone looking for something to read. Everyone knows a dog is a man’s best friend, but what happens when it is man versus dog. When survival of the fittest kicks in, the fittest truly shows. In “To Build a Fire”, Jack London expresses various elements of literature to really get the reader involved in the story.The unnamed man in this story is the protagonist. He does not portray numerous personalities, which makes him a flat character as shown in the line,”The trouble with him was that he lacked imagination…”(london) and “He was quick and alert on the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances”(london). The beginning of the story sets the scene as being a very cold, dark, and harsh environment. The unnamed man travels along the Yukon trail in fifty drees below zero weather. To anyone else, they would bundle up or don’t go outside. However, to the unnamed man, this means nothing. He has no imagination, which means he does not see the significance in things. He could be staring death in the face and show no emotion. As the story progresses, the unnamed man is revealed as a dynamic character. He soon realizes he is in a life or death situation, “The fear quickly became poignant as he realized that it was no longer a mere matter of freezing his fingers and toes, or of losing his hands and feet, but that it was a matter of life and death, with the chances against him”(london). With that, he realizes the reality of death, and that the way he responded to the environment, he knows that he was wrong…

…mention the “limit” on the man. Anyone can relate to the story, be it through limitations or the theme of survival. This is true when the story came out and will continue to be true till survival its self is gone.

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Works Cited-Joan D. Hedrick “To Build a Fire.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Group, 200.335-358 Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

-Jack London. “To Build a Fire”

-James I. McClintock “To Build a Fire.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Group, 200.335-358 Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

-Jill Widdicombe “To Build a Fire.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale Group, 200.335-358 Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Web. 13 Jan. 2015.

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