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To Build a Fire Short Story Essay

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Imelda Daniel
Mooneyham/3
September 28, 2012

Character is usually reflected by the way one reacts or acts upon a certain situation. Pride and ignorance can affect ones fate and get them into sticky situations, where instinct may become the best choice. With no imagination and miles of snow, one can lose patience and end up giving in just as the man did in “To build a fire” by Jack London. The man was so sure he could survive the extraordinary temperatures of Alaska, but ends up dead at the story’s end. The man was also warned at the beginning of the story, that when it gets too cold, one must be accompanied with a partner. Ignoring the man at the creek, the main character goes off to do his own thing. The man in to build a fire, possesses great pride in himself, is ignorant of those around him, is selfish, stubborn, and has elicited sympathy from the audience since his fate was in such danger.    
At the beginning it may seem as if the man knew what to do and what not to do during the cold winters of Alaska. Yet, it was only pride that made him look this way. The man thought he could survive because he was not “womanish” and it was every man’s duty. He was also warned to go with someone when the temperature drops 50 below, but ignores the fact and takes on this responsibility. After the man drops into the freezing water and gets his feet wet, one gets worried that if the man does not find shelter or warmth, he will die. After failing to make a fire, the man comes up with a wild idea. The man tries to kill the dog, which shows how selfish he was, although the dog’s instinct could have led them to survival. Even during his death, one can see his stubbornness, and that if he had listened to the man he could have been saved! This here is where one can feel most sympathy for, because even after he has failed and died, the man still pictures himself and entitles himself as “one of the boys”.   It is sad to think that he truly believed he was right, and that death...

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