To Build a Fire Analysis

Topics: Yukon, Apathy, Short story Pages: 1 (371 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Advice should never be taken lightly. Is it like a crystal ball, allowing the user to see into the future, and maybe save their life. Arrogance is a major flaw in literary characters of all regions and time periods. In Jack London's short story, To Build a Fire, the unnamed man is working his way through the Yukon to reach a camp and "the boys," with his dog as his only travelling partner. The man ignores the advice of an old man about travelling alone when the temperature dips below negative fifty degrees. Because of his arrogance, lack of respect for nature, unpreparedness and pure apathy, he is waging a losing battle for his life. By foolishly choosing to ignore the advice of the old man, the man in the story is risking his own well-being in the name of pride. The man doesn't acknowledge the cold as a danger until the end of the story, and by then it is much too late. However, even when faced with the bleak prospect of his own survival, the man is still in full denial of the real situation. He starts an ill fated attempt to sprint the remaining miles to camp, but quickly tires, and relinquishes his hold on life. The man's lack of respect for nature and the conditions that existed for his journey show his egotistical tendencies. While most people would have waited for better conditions to make the trip, the man marches on, desperate to reach camp. When he falls through the ice and soaks his feet he is more angry about the time he is losing than worried for his safety. As he is building a fire he even comments on how "Those old times were rather womanish" ( ), again putting his arrogance on display. Near the end of the story we see the man trying to run to camp. He realizes he has no chance to make it, and finally accepts the gravity of the entire situation. While the man is cautious in some ways, as the story progresses he becomes more and more apathetic. He is unprepared for the harsh weather conditions in the first place by travelling alone. bad clothes...
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