Overconfidence and carelessness interfere with instincts.
Advice is valuable and should not be overlooked.
This setting emphasizes the lack of control the man has. The greyscale pallet of the picture creates a mood of helplessness and adds to the ominous feeling. Nature is an all-powerful force that pushes against the characters and creates conflict, and the snow and ice in the picture represent how the freezing temperature ultimately led to the man’s death.
Fire represents life.
While trekking through the frozen forest, the man had no worries and was completely confident in himself. This led to his carelessness in taking care of himself. This contracts the dog’s natural survival instincts, which were not clouded by ego or carelessness, therefore allowing it to survive. London means to illustrate that instincts can be clouded or overshadowed by carelessness if it is left unchecked.
Underestimating danger leads to deadly consequences.
When the man faced dangers on the trail, he reflected on his past and getting advice from someone more experienced then him. However, he had disregarded the advice, leading him to make deadly mistakes that would have been otherwise avoidable. This highlights the importance of listening to those with more experience than oneself, as it may save you in the future.
Nature is omnipotent and everlasting, and it cannot be beaten.
When the man started his fire, there was a sense of hope that he might survive. As soon as it was snuffed out by fallen snow, realization hits that the man’s survival is hopeless. The fire represents life in that it is an unpredictable force, and when it is snuffed out, life is, too.
When the man underestimated the cold and his freezing limbs, he came to regret it as he froze to death. Underestimating danger filters out any perceived threat, ultimately making oneself blind to danger.
Throughout the story, the man struggled in the harsh conditions of nature, but in the end, nature overpowered him and he died. Nature is constant and more powerful than any human could ever wish to be. Even after death, nature continues on with force.