Naturalism and Jack London's To Build a Fire

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The “ Naturalism in American Literature” web page describes one of the key elements of Naturalism as the “‘brute within’ each individual, composed of strong and often warring emotions: passions, such as lust, greed, or the desire for dominance or pleasure; and the fight for survival in an amoral, indifferent universe. The conflict in naturalistic novels is often "man against nature" or "man against himself" as characters struggle to retain a "veneer of civilization" despite external pressures that threaten to release the "brute within.’" Discuss how this idea is evident in Crane’s “ The Open Boat” or in his poems OR how it is evident in Jack London's "To Build a Fire."

In Jack London’s “To Build a Fire,” the man in the story finds himself in a battle against nature and an indifferent and deterministic universe. This man started out believing that he could brave and survive the cold and that the old man’s advice about travelling with a partner was “womanish.” Although without a human partner, the man is accompanied by a dog. The dog represents nature and the opposition to the human condition which is the struggle to maintain a “veneer of civilization.” At the beginning of the story, it is obvious that the man has belief in his ability to survive the rugged, frozen terrain. The man contemplates the lunch that is under his shirt and even smiles thinking about the biscuits being smothered in bacon grease. Also, he continues to chew tobacco despite the effects that it has on his facial hair and lips. Meanwhile, the dog is aware of the seventy-five below zero temperature through its natural instinct and questions every movement the man is making that is not towards shelter or fire.
After stopping to build a fire and eat his biscuit, the man took the time to have a smoke, seeming to forget the dreadful cold that was upon him. As soon as it was time to leave the fire, the dog wanted to stay near its warmth but instead heeded his master’s call. Shortly

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