Jack London's "To Build a Fire"

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Yukon
  • Pages : 2 (845 words )
  • Download(s) : 120
  • Published : November 20, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” is a story about knowing your surroundings, and listening to your instincts, just as the dog in this story did. London’s human character, who is nameless in the story, is more like a foil; with the main character being the harsh landscape of the Yukon, where the story takes place amid -75 below temperatures. The man shows how arrogant and inexperienced he is when he travels to the Yukon Territory without proper clothing, the use of a sled, or companions. He has no camping gear, insufficient food supplies, and his surroundings appear insignificant to him. These vital mistakes not only cost the man anger, but eventually a slow, agonizing death due to stubbornness, and a lack of knowledge in the harsh realities of the Yukon. With a dog as his traveling companion, the man sets out on his own in the Yukon to meet with companions at a camp site. He has no experience of the territory he is traveling, despite being told how dangerous it is to travel alone, after the temperatures reach 50 below, by a local old timer from Sulphur Creek. The man scoffed at the advice with arrogance; thinking the locals as womanly, without the realization of the reasoning behind the advice. He does not worry that the artic temperature is colder than he’s ever felt as he moves at a rapid pace, with just a jacket. The man arrived atop the earth-bank and saw “there was no sun nor hint of sun, though there was not a cloud in the sky. It was a clear day, and yet there seemed an intangible pall over the face of things. A subtle gloom that made the day dark”, and that was due to the absence of the sun. (583). The man lacked knowledge and insight to realize this was not a good sign. An intangible pall came over the face of the atmosphere in the Yukon. This is a representation of London’s use of Pathos. The landscape is coming to life before the man’s eyes, but he is not alarmed. The animal was depressed by the tremendous cold (585). The dog’s inherited...
tracking img