The Importance of Setting in Jack Londons "To Build a Fire" and Kate Chopins "The Storm"

Topics: Fiction, Jack London, Kate Chopin Pages: 4 (1471 words) Published: December 5, 2011
A good writer’s depiction of setting positions the reader right into the story. In "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, the setting plays a significant role throughout the entire short story.  London uses certain techniques to establish the atmosphere of the story.  By introducing his readers to the setting, prepares them for a tone that is depressed and frightening.  Isolated by the hostile environment of the Yukon in sub-freeing temperatures, a man falls victim to the unrelenting and unforgiving power of nature, London shows us how the main character of the story is completely unaware of his surroundings. The only world the man is truly accustomed to is his own. Never being exposed to such a harsh climate draws one to conclude that the environment is the determining factor of his survival, as well as his dog's too. Anything that the man and his dog come into contact with creates an anticipation for disaster in the story. In Kate Chopins’ “The Storm,” the setting in this story creates the perfect environment for an adulterous affair. Chopin not only creates the perfect setting but also uses the setting as a symbol of the affair. The presence of the storm is not merely coincidental. It is the driving force behind the story and the affair. As the storm begins, climaxes and ends so does the affair and the story. From the opening we see that Chopin intends to use the storm to move the story forward. Jack Londons “To Build A Fire,” takes place on a trail in the Yukon. This setting is vital to the story because nature, the cold and the snow become the main character’s worst enemy. The first two paragraphs are devoted to the story's setting and forthcoming action. It is clear that it is mid-winter in the Arctic during a cold snap, that the man is traveling alone, and that he is about to veer from the established route to his destination ("the main trail" along the Yukon) to take a seldom used but shorter trail across country. The day is clear, but at this latitude and...
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