To Build a Fire
The man in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” is a sad, pathetic character. Here is a man who decides to disregard any advice or warnings generously given to him and ventures off into the deathly cold Alaskan terrain. He is accompanied by only a dog, on a journey to the old claim on the left fork of Henderson Creek where his friends would already be. This man can merely be described as stubborn, cocky, and foolish.
The man faces many conflicts. His first, and biggest conflict, is the weather. He was dealing with temperatures ranging from fifty to seventy-five degrees below zero. He was warned by the old man at Sulfur Creek that it was absolutely freezing and to travel with at least one other person. But he foolishly did not adhere to the advice and went solo. For a while the man’s ego took over and he thought the old man’s advice was absurd. The man believed “Any man who was a man could travel alone.” This frigid weather froze the Yukon and even turned spit into ice before it hit the ground. Another conflict he faced was building a fire. “He should not have built the fire under a spruce tree.” By doing so he doomed himself when the snow from the tree fell and put out the fire. He also lost feelings in his hands and feet due to the freezing temperature. The man also had to be careful of where he stepped making sure not to fall in ice, which he eventually does and has to deal with.
The man decided to take the Yukon trails to get to Henderson Creek to be with his friends in a cabin. The man did not go with his friends who had come over across the divide from the Indian Creek country. He took a roundabout way to take a look at the possibilities of getting out logs in the spring from the islands in the Yukon. His motivation was the warm fire and some nice hot food he would get to enjoy once he reached the cabin. He would grow old and tell others of a cold they wouldn’t know that he himself had faced.
The man’s actions speak...