To Build a Fire Essay

271 WordsSep 28, 20122 Pages
“To Build a Fire” One of the points that Jack London is trying to make in his story “To Build a Fire” is that to survive, a person needs to have an imagination, and he makes this point very clearly in his descriptions of the physical environment, as well as in his use of the dog. The nameless man, a chechaquo in his first winter, does not recognize the “intangible pall” (100) that hangs over the land or “the absence of sun from the sky” which contributes to the “tremendous” strength of the cold (101). None of this made an impression on him, for “he was without imagination” (101). The man thinks of the old timer, who laid down the law “that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below” (106), but he fails to heed that warning. On the other hand, the dog “was depressed by the tremendous cold” (102). It has instinct, which allows it to experience a “vague but menacing apprehension” (102). The dog knew it was not good to travel in this cold (104). So the man without imagination makes a mistake. He builds his fire to dry his feet under a tree with snow in the branches. The snow falls, his fire goes out, and he dies in the cold. Too late, he realizes “the old timer in Sulphur Creek was right” (110), and the dog continued without him in search of other food and fire providers. In this way, London’s story tells us that those without imagination will perish in a harsh environment, while those who have it will

More about To Build a Fire Essay

Open Document