To Build a Fire

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Man against Nature Jack London places a middle-aged logger on a desolate trail in the middle of the Klondike where the temperature is seventy-five degrees below zero. He is on a journey to reach camp and meet up with friends. On this journey, the man is faced with obstacles that could result in life or death, but he struggles with putting his knowledge of the wild over his pride. In Jack London’s To Build a Fire, London illustrates the differences between instincts and intellect by using symbolism, foreshadowing, and characterization to describe not only a man’s struggle with nature, but also a struggle within himself. London uses a husky as symbolism in this story. This husky is used to symbolize the man’s instincts that he foolishly disregards. In the story the dog follows the man on his journey. The dog constantly questions why this man is traveling alone in these conditions. We see this when London writes, “It experienced a vague but menacing apprehension that subdued it and made it slink along at the man's heels, and that made it question eagerly every unwanted movement of the man as if expecting him to go into camp or to seek shelter somewhere and build a fire” (London 523). Meaning that the dog questioned why the man was wandering alone. The dog shows its instinct when it gets its legs wet, and stops immediately to lick and bite the ice off its legs. When building the climax, London uses foreshadowing to keep you in anticipation for what happens next. In this short story, foreshadowing is used to indicate that nature itself will take the man’s life from him if he does not put his intellect over his pride. An example of foreshadowing is when the man met an old-timer that told him, “no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below” (London 521). This was a warning to the man, but he chose not to listen to it and put his pride first. Jack

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