Stages Of Death In Jack London's To Build A Fire

Powerful Essays
Topics: Denial, Yukon
Stages of Death:
With a Side of Misogyny
Jack London, who was an alcoholic sailor and a miner in the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska by the time he was just twenty-one years old, used his various life experiences to write and publish more than 219 works of literary art, one of which he wrote in the early 1900s, was a short story called “To Build A Fire”. As the story about a man, whose name is not mentioned, begins to unfold, it seemed as though London had made his main character go through several of the stages of grief compiled by the psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. These stages are: Denial, where the person does not want to believe what is true and thinks that what they believe is true; Anger, where they ask “Why me?” and let out
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Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had come up with the five stages of grief much later after Jack London wrote this short story, it still seems like the man in the story had gone through some sorts of similar stages. (Greenwald) However, it's as though London had made his own types of stages. The protagonist had started with an episode of denial and pride as he was sure of himself that he would reach the camp safely by six o’clock. This was also the time when he was portraying the beliefs of most men at that time about women being weak and began thinking much like a misogynist. He then progressed to a period of acknowledgement but persistence and determination when he began to understand that if he doesn’t do something, then his life could end or the problem could be worse. As he realized that maybe it would’ve been a good idea to listen to the old-timers, he finally moved on to accepting the fact that he was going to die, admitting he was completely wrong, and surrendered to freezing into a sleeping death. These phases could be comprised into the stages of inevitable death with a personal touch by Jack London and how he thought someone would act in that situation. This shows how London had made his character more human, especially for that time period, and with this he created a great story that people who have been in a similar situation can relate to in some way and everyone else can enjoy and analyze in their own

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