To build a fire

Topics: Cryobiology, Food preservation, Snow Pages: 2 (598 words) Published: November 23, 2013


“To Build a Fire” Essay

Humanity is just a part of nature; if it ceased to exist everything would go on as if it never did exist. Nature’s uncaring for humanity is displayed in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” with the man and nature not doing anything to help him survive. This is shown in “To Build a Fire” when the man fell in the ice, tried to start a fire for the second time, and when he freezes to death. Nature did not help the man when he fell in the ice, it simply did not freeze the water through or make it noticeable that the ice was thin. Despite the man’s efforts to avoid the water underneath ice by looking for “sunken, candied” snow, he fell in through, into the water. (London 85) The water had soaked him “halfway to the knees” and it was imperative for him to build a fire to get his things dry before continuing his journey. (London 87) When he did this nature did not care and allowed ice to fall on top of it, smothering it. There was no sympathy from nature; nature was indifferent to what was happening to the man and whether or not he lived. After nature smothered his first fire he started working on another one, so he could thaw his feet and survive. Nature did not care that the man was freezing to death, so it did not help him get a second fire. At this point the man’s hands were so numb that his unavailing efforts caused “the [matches to fall] into the snow.”(London 90) When the man tried to light one all of them lit up, nature did not succor by spreading the fire just let it fall into the snow, and let the fire go out. The man had no way to light a fire so his only hope was to make it to the camp before he could freeze to death so he “ran along the old, dim trail.”(London 93) The man figured that if he could make it to the camp his friends could help him because nature wasn’t helping him survive. There was no hope for the man, but he still ran trying to survive. Meanwhile nature did not care what happened to him. Nature,...
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