To Build A Fire. By: Jack London. Presentation By: Oscar Lara Kim Phan. Jack London.
By: Jack London
John (Jack) Griffith London(1876-1916) was born in San Francisco of an unmarried mother, Flora Wellman. As an adolescent he worked at hard labor jobs, pirated for oysters, served as a fish patrol, and joined the army. In the winter of 1987, Jack London traveled in the Yukon; his adventures were the ideologies behind many of his stories. London often tied the proposal of Social Darwinism into his writings. Jack London was an influential naturalistic writer of his time and became the first to use his endorsement for commercial products in advertising.
Jack London’s To Build A Fire symbolizes an onion; the external theme he illustrates is the Man’s struggle to meet up with his friends . Once you peel the outer layers off, you realize that he intertwines the deeper meaning of ignorance, survival, and knowledge. The Man’s instincts and senses allow him to understand that the weather is a definite drawback, but ignorance and stubbornness triumphs. He goes into this adventure without knowledge of the dangers that can occur- he did not realize what he was getting himself into. His eagerness traps him into a ball of risks and threatens his life. After sometime he becomes dependent on survival; he realizes that his life is valuable and the only way out of death is by building a fire for warmth. When your life is on the line your companion and desires are no longer vital.
In To Build A Fire, Jack London displays an indifferent, yet melancholy tone. The speaker operates as a third person and an outside observer; he tells the story as it is and encompasses no concerns for the Man. But at the same time he portrays a gloomy tone when referring to the dog and dangers that jeopardizes the Man’s survival; the speaker suddenly feels empathy for the main character. Although the main character experiences many difficulties the author avoids an emotional attitude, towards the main character, and creates an informative short story.
In To Build A Fire, Jack London’s purpose was write and inform the reader about his experiences in the Yukon. He wants to highlight the dangers of traveling and that ignorance is not an exception; you should understand what you are about to face. Your existence is essential, and the struggle to survive is difficult; by emphasizing survival he weaves Darwin’s theory into his writing.
“Social Darwinism, term coined in the late 19th century to describe the idea that humans, like animals and plants, compete in a struggle for existence in which natural selection results in “survival of the fittest.”” “[But most propose arguments that justify] imbalances of power between individuals, races, and nations because they consider some people more fit to survive than others. “
“He pictured the boys finding his body the next day…He did not belong with himself anymore, for even then he was out of himself…”
This quote shows how ignorant the man was to believe that he could beat nature. Yes, he had survived a long time but how he didn’t realize that he still had a long way to go and his plans could be ruined due to the weather. The man’s persistence against nature shows how his will and self determination drives him to put up a fight against the external conflict in the story.
It shows the greatness of the human mind to block off anything when a ultimate goal is desired. In this case, the man wants to get to the camp and does not pay much attention to the weather and talks himself into believing that it’s not too cold.
“Fifty degrees below zero stood for a bite of frost that hurt..”
“He remembered the advice from the old-timer… had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone..”
The author may assume…
“…It was for its own sake that it yearned back toward the fire.”
Omniscient narrator sets up for the reader to not know much about the character, which causes the reader to only see him as stubborn and ignorant
Sensory details: “..tremendous cold..”, “..frozen moisture..”,set up the scene to which the character must face his death
Syntax: Long paragraphs and sentences that deeply depict the man’s attitude and feelings, as well as the scenery
“Empty as the man's mind was of thoughts, we was keenly observant…"