The Downfall of a Man Amidst Nature in to Build a Fire by Jack London

April 13, 2021 by Essay Writer

Imagine if you were trying to survive in the middle of Alaska with little food and no one else around to help you. In “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, that is exactly what the man is trying to do. The man is so caught up in himself and endures a lot of hardships. The emotional center of the story is whether or not the man will survive. The most climactic moment of the story is when snow falls from a tree and puts out a fire that the man has built. He looks for anything that will keep him warm, and he even was going to eat the dog but had no success.

The downfall of the man is his cockiness and his unwillingness to listen to other people. The emotional center of the story is seeing if the man will survive or not. The man is traveling through Alaska and is trying to get to his friends, who are at a mining camp, but doesn’t realize how cold it is outside. Jack London says, “Undoubtedly it was colder than fifty below – how much colder he did not know. But the temperature did not matter. ” (London 1-2). The man is new to the territory and is traveling through Yukon but doesn’t realize how dangerous the outside can be. It is fifty degrees below zero which is not ideal weather for traveling. It doesn’t matter to him because he thinks he is tougher than everybody else and is so full of himself. It is extremely cold and his chances of surviving are not good. When the snow from the tree puts out his fire it all seems hopeless. The snow falling from the tree is the most climatic moment of the story. The man is trying to find a source of heat to dry himself out and so he builds a fire. Jack London says, “It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! Where it had burned was a mantle of fresh and disordered snow. ” (London 7).

The man’s fire was extinguished and his only source of heat vanished in the blink of an eye. The man will do anything to keep himself warm. At one point he tries to kill the dog that has been following him around but has no success. The snow diminishes any hope of him surviving. When the snow drops from the tree and diminishes his fire he begins to panic. His only heat source is gone and unless he finds any source of heat he will die. The man begins to look for a heat source and he even tries to kill the dog that was tailing him. When the man fails to find some sort of heat source he begins to run. He runs for a little bit but eventually he runs out of energy. Jack London says, “Freezing was not so bad as people thought. There were lots worse ways to die. ” (London 11). He gives into death like a man and thinks of other ways he could have died. As the man is dying he wishes he wouldn’t have been so arrogant.

The man learned a valuable lesson in “To Build a Fire.” He was so caught up in himself that he didn’t realize how dangerous it really was during the winter of Alaska. When the snow from the tree fell on his fire it was the end of his trek. The man did learn from his mistakes but by then it was too late and his consequence was losing his life.

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