To Build A Fire: Nature Vs Action

May 18, 2022 by Essay Writer

The man came to terms with the fact that he was going to die. He was well aware that he made a mistake and his fight was over, but he did his best to survive. London explains how, “Well, he was bound to freeze anyway, and he might as well take it decently. With this new-found peace of mind came the first glimmerings of drowsiness. A good idea, he thought, to sleep off to death. It was like taking an anaesthetic. Freezing was not so bad as people thought. There were lots worse ways to die” (pg 328). The man is accepting his fate because he knew there was no way to escape death and decides to take it well instead of in a panic. He was aware that his actions led him to this point which is why he finally gave in. His obliviousness finally caught up to him. The man was the cause of his own death. If he made different survival decisions from the beginning, then he would have had a chance to survive. London says that, ‘There were no signs of a fire to be made… its eager yearning for the fire mastered it…’ (pg 329) when referring to the man’s dog. The dog knew that the man could no longer make a fire for the both of them. It knew the man lost his battle against nature, but the dog still had a chance to survive. The dog leaves the man once it realized he was not going to wake up. Unlike the man, the dog knew when it was time to leave.

In conclusion, the man in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” was put up against nature and lost due to his obliviousness which caused a wide variety of actions and emotions throughout his journey. The man went from hopeful, to desperate and finally to acceptance. All the man really wanted was to get to his friends at a camp. The man was warned about the weather yet chose to do his own thing which cost him his life. He was oblivious to all of the warning signs until it was too late. The dog knew that it was dangerous to be out in the cold well before the man did. In a way, Jack London was trying to tell his audience to be aware of what is going on and know what someone is getting into. His character died because he was not fully prepared to be in the environment that he was attempting to travel in. The man was his own biggest enemy in London’s story.


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