We interact with people every day. In order to find out if a person is someone of interest, we test them. We observe their reactions to situations to make this determination. As we read a story, the same concept is used to determine our interest in it'scharacters.
The main character in Jack London's, "To Build a Fire," is not given a name but we are told he is a man. The story is set in the Klondike and he has venturedoff from his companions in search of future prospects. In the third paragraph, we are informed of the type of person he is: He was a newcomer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter. The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not the significances.
The description displays the stock character of the self proclaimed indestructible man. A man that is confident in his skills of survival and determined to get what he wants. Knowledge of his skills is shown in his preparednessfor warmth and food and his use of caution to avoid falling through the ice. He unfortunately was caught off guard when without notice the ice gave way under his feet. He found himself wet up to his ankles and seemedto be very distraught. Not because he was wet, but because having to light a fire and dry off was going to delay his arrival to the camp. This reaction supports London's portrayal of him in the beginning of the story. He contained the skills necessary to survive but gave no, "significance," to the situation he was in. From there, a series of unfortunate events led the man to be overtaken by the cold, and we are left feeling thathe got what he deserved. Justice was served because the man who failed to heed warnings was dealt the punishment for not doing so.
Sometimes the scales of justice are not as balanced. In Shirley Jackson's, "The Lottery," we find a small town with a population of about 300 gathering in the...
Cited: London, Jack. "To Buld a Fire" Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing.
10th Edition. Ed. Joeseph Terry. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 120.
Jackon, Shirley. "The Lottery" Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama and Writing.
10th Edition. Ed. Joeseph Terry. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. 241-43.
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