Symbolism In To Build A Fire By Jack London

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“To Build a Fire” by Jack London is an American short story that is about a man that goes out into the freezing cold Yukon, Alaska. Jack uses many literary tools throughout his story. The best ones that he used throughout his story is setting, imagery, and point-of-view. “London emphasizes the existential theme in “To Build a Fire” in several ways, the most important of which is his selection of the setting in which the story takes place.” (lonestar.edu). The story is set in Yukon, Alaska, one of the coldest places in North America. London writes “It was 75 below zero. Because the freezing point is 32 above zero, it meant that there were 107 degrees of frost.” (London 66) telling the reader how cold it was and how harsh the environment …show more content…
He just wants to go out into the wilderness and then meet with his friends. The man completely ignores the old man of Sulphur Creek stories that he told him. After the man falls through the ice and his feet get wet and needs to build a fire he is determined to start one and keeps trying over and over again. The man is also “intellectual” by how he uses more advanced technologies like matches and how he knows the temperature through temperature readings (gradesaver.com). But as the reader finds out as they read the man is cocky and thinks he knows everything he needs to know to survive. When the man is freezing to death and unable to start a fire he even tried to kill the dog to put his hands on its carcass to warm them. The author also uses dramatic irony saying that the man is very observant and is always on the watch for any signs of danger but then he falls through the ice where there are no signs of danger. Jack also shows it when the man just built a fire then snow ironically falls and snuffs out the fire (lonestar.edu). The dog in the story is the instinctual one of the two. The man represents the character that does everything that they have learned. The dog is the character that only relies on its instincts to survive. For example, the dog is just following the man for the man to be its fire provider and food provider. The man from Sulphur Creek talks about how cold it gets there but the man does not believe and laughs at how the old man thought he had felt cold. As the man froze to death he thought more and more about the advice the old man had given him, he says “The old man on Sulphur Creek had told him about it, and now he was grateful for the advice” (London 71). The man goes on to say that “The man had been very serious when he said that no man should travel alone in that country after 50 below zero. Well, here he was; he had had the accident; he was alone; and he had saved

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