To Build a Fire

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  • Topic: Life, Kill, The Kill
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  • Published : November 13, 2012
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Midterm Expository Essay; "To Build a Fire"

The powerful story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, is about the struggles 'the man' faces with nature. The man is supposed to be an average person, and although some people may hesitate they are as ignorant and arrogant as the man, many people do not understand the power of nature. The story is about the man traveling into the woods, armed with technology, but he just doesn't understand how truely powerful nature can be to his survival. Nature has been around for thousands and thousands of years, and the man must die in order to prove that nature always wins.

First and foremost, the man came across as very narcissistic, and maybe even a little cocky. The text reads; "It did not lead him to meadiate upon his frailty as a creature of temperature, and upon man's frality in general, able to live only within certain narrow limits of heat and cold; and from there on it did not lead him to the conjectural field of immortality and man's place in the universe." This obviously is pointing at the fact that he is so concerned with his own everyday life to simply think about his own insufficiencies in the eyes of nature. It also demonstrates that he's over confident. The man believes he is super strong, because he can't see his own temperatural weaknesses as a mere human. This is significant because if the man continued living at the end of this story, it would seem as though he was strong enough to overcome the almighty nature, when in reality he's just a small part of a much larger, more complex puzzle.

In addition, I believe it's very important for the man to die at the end of the story because he was warned not to venture off into the cold alone. He clearly ignored the advice of the wise, and extremely experienced old-timer of Sulphur Creek. Here is a quote from the story to better explain; "Well, here he was; he had the accident; he was alone; and he had saved himself. Those old-timers were rather womanish, some...
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