Major Theme in to Build a Fire by Jack London Essay
The movement of naturalism was greatly influenced by the 19th-century ideas of Social Darwinism, which was in turn influenced by Charles Darwin's theories on evolution. Social Darwinism applied to the human environment the evolutionary concept that natural environments alter an organism's biological makeup over time through natural selection. Social Darwinists and naturalists cited this as proof that organisms, including humans, do not have free will, but are shaped, or determined, by their environment and biology. Naturalists argued that the deterministic world is based on a series of links, each of which causes the next (for more on these causal links, see Causal links and processes, below). In "To Build a …show more content…
Causal links and processes
"To Build a Fire" is, among other things, a virtual instruction manual on how to build a fire. It details specifically how one goes about gathering twigs and grasses, assembling them, lighting them, and keeping the fire going. The story, like many naturalist works, is obsessed with processes. These processes can be viewed as causal links--each event causes the next one. Causality is another preoccupation of naturalism, which grounds itself in the philosophy of determinism (see Determinism, above).
While the man in the story is adept with physical processes, he cannot make associative mental leaps and