In 1908, Jack London published his revised version of To Build a Fire. It was popular for many reasons, yet one attraction to the story was the predominant themes that he involved in all his stories. Within this story, the theme of man versus nature is predominant, and is highlighted when the main character is trying to build a fire to save himself from the harsh indifference of nature. The main character, a nameless stranger in this version, fights his way through the below freezing Yukon Territory. He has several major mistakes throughout the story. He does not seem to realize that his attempts to best Nature at its’ own game would be futile.
Nature has a major meaning in many of Jack London’s nature stories. Here, it is the utter strength of nature and how vast and dangerous it can be. The main character is trying to conquer the frontier of the Yukon Territory, yet knows very little on how to even survive it. He is warned about the dangers in the frontier, yet he completely ignores them. Due to his ignorance, he becomes careless. Because he becomes careless, he begins to underestimate his surroundings and ends up dying. His ego goes to conflict with his common sense as well. He does not fully understand the threat posed by the alien environment and that the only way to survive is to use his instincts. Only in his last moments does he reflect upon how incorrect he
was to disregard the advice that was bestowed upon him. “’You were right, old hoss; you were right,’ the man mumbled to the old-timer of Sulphur Creek.”(London).
Nature is a constant. Nature does not have feelings or remorse. So, Nature never cares who you are or how much money you have. It only matters if you have the wit to stay alive, or to play by its rules. Nature shows no mercy, and it shown in the story when the main character wets his legs in the springs and builds a fire, only for it to be put out by the tree he is sitting...