To Build a Fire by Jack London

Topics: Klondike Gold Rush, Yukon, Human Pages: 2 (542 words) Published: October 6, 2011
To Build a Fire Journal Entry

The old timer in the story of, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, plays a significant role throughout The man’s journey through the Yukon Trail. His part also has a truly symbolic meaning that is evident whenever The man refers to him. While looking at the story from a Darwinian perspective, The old timer is a successful breed of humans because of his wise decisions and intelligence. He shared his thoughts to The man about the traveling conditions that day and offered his advice. The man, being ignorant to sensible guidance, chose not to listen to the older and smarter man. The old timer’s triumph to old age should have been enough for The man to be convinced and abide by the suggestion. The man proves to be an unsuccessful breed of humans by lacking the knowledge to know how poor his decision would be. The environment “selects” the species most fit to survive and reproduce in its conditions. The old timer obviously had the “traits” that lead to his ultimate survival, while The man did not which is apparent in the advents that leading up to his death.

The dog is continually obedient and loyal to his master prior to The man’s losing struggle to survive. This is even despite “the brute’s” own strong instincts to not to partake in the journey. It stays with him because it knows The man is the one to provide food and shelter to it. It does not know any other way of life but to obey the one who keeps it alive. By following The dog’s comprehension of and dependency on The man for its survival, it listens to him till the final hours of The man’s fate. Fortunately for The dog, its “traits” were more favorable to the dark and exceptionally cold environment of the Yukon Trail than that of The man’s. The dog’s keen awareness to The man’s newly unusual behavior also played an important role in it’s survival. This is yet another favorable feature of The dog that kept it alive.

My favorite aspect Jack London’s story is his ability to...
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