To Build A Fire

To Build A Fire

Storyboard Text

  • The unpredictability of nature
  • Determination will are important to withstand nature’s wrath
  • Fire represents the man’s lifeforce
  • The dangerous pools of water under thinner sheets of ice, the -102 degrees of frost, and the many threats to the fires the man sets, all represent the unpredictable dangers of nature. These elements are the main threats that the man fails to respect or prepare for, making these conflicts all the more dangerous.
  • London characterizes the man as arrogant
  • The man is extremely apathetic to the dangers such as the frost, water pools, and the extreme cold. He also seems to have no positive feeling to his dog or the old men and their advice. Despite his calm collectedness, he still struggles to survive near the end of the story. This shows that not enough emotion can cause you to ignore instinct.
  • The man is unprepared for his journey
  • In the Alaskan Wilderness, fire is the most important tool in stopping the deadly cold. Both the title of the story and the repetition of its use, imply that fire is a major theme. Once the man’s fire is destroyed by the snow, his death spiral begins.
  • Knowledge of instinct and companionship are important
  • The man ignores the experienced old men of the Yukon advice to not travel alone and to avoid travel in the cold and insults them when he manages to survive without it. His eventual failure, shows that London believes advice should never be ignored from those with experience.
  • Those old men were rather womanish (72).
  • The man only takes basic cold gear such as mittens, ear coverings, warm moccasins, and thick socks. His only other supplies are his dog and lunch. His lack of supplies are one of the reasons he dies. London and the old men both put much importance of preparedness.
  • The dog and the man have a poor relationship demonstrated by their actions or lack thereof to each other. The clearly shows little kindness to the dog by the harsh tone her calls to it and when he pushes it into the thin ice. The dog shows no attachment to the man when it doesn’t warn him of the dangerous cold and when it runs from him at the sign of desperation in the man’s voice. The dog’s instincts were of self-interest, and the man failed to address that, so the dog wouldn’t protect him.
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