To Build a Fire

To Build a Fire

Storyboard Text

  • The man is stubborn.
  • Bring a companion on the trail. It will be less dangerous!
  • Nah! I know what I'm doing.
  • The man is foolishly prideful.
  • "His idea was that he had been acting like a fool" (London 78).
  • The dog is obedient despite its knowledge.
  • "Its fear made it question eagerly every movement of the man" (London 66).
  • "But the dog knew and all of its family knew" (London 70).
  • The man receives advice from an old man on Sulphur Creek. He is told he should travel with a companion and is warned of the danger. Due to the man’s stubbornness of the man, he refueled this advice and embarks on the journey alone.
  • The frigid and dangerous setting create a conflict of man vs. nature.
  • The man claims he has experience and seems to know what he’s doing. However, he ends up falling through ice due to his arrogant pride. If the man had a companion with him, and listened to the advice of the old man, he would not be in the same situation. The man allows his pride to get the best of him and foolishly dooms himself to an unfortunate situation. At the ending, the man even realizes this and recognizes his foolishness.
  • The gloomy tone foreshadows a solemn ending.
  • The dog follows the command of the man. Not because the dog feels close to the man or cares for him, but he feels inferior and is afraid of the man. The author describes the man’s voice similar to the sound of a whip which probably makes the dog scared. It’s evident that the dog would not be trying to survive in the same way if he wasn’t with the man. The dog has experience in his blood and family and shows hesitance to the man’s actions.
  • The fire represents the difference between life and death.
  • "It mean life, and it must not cease" (London 75).
  • The author continues to illustrate the setting as dangerous including specific information on the frigidness and conditions of the mans travel. For example, the thin ice that the man could potentially fall through the whole story creates a potential point of conflict and suspense. The man must defeat the conditions of nature in order to survive his trip to the camp.
  • "Fifty degrees below zero meant 80 degrees of frost" (London 65).
  • From the beginning of the short story, the author depicts the setting in a gloomy tone. This gloomy tone is created with descriptions of the lack of sun and astonishing amount of snow. This tone foreshadows the gloomy and tragic ending of the short story.
  • "There was no sun or promise of sun, although there was not a cloud in the sky" (London 64).
  • In the gloomy, frigid, setting London creates, the fire creates a large contrast to the bleakness of the man’s surroundings. The cold puts the man’s life at risk. The frost is 105 degrees thick, but the flames of the fire exceedingly hot that they burn. In this story, the fire is the difference between life and death.
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