Free Essay

To Build a Fire

In: English and Literature

Submitted By 1234qwermarit
Words 2833
Pages 12
To Build a Fire Summary
A man travels in the Yukon (in Alaska) on an extremely cold morning with a husky wolf-dog. The cold does not faze the man, a newcomer to the Yukon, who plans to meet his friends by six o'clock at an old claim. As it grows colder, he realizes his unprotected cheekbones will freeze, but he does not pay it much attention. He walks along a creek trail, mindful of the dangerous, concealed springs; even getting wet feet on such a cold day is extremely dangerous. He stops for lunch and builds a fire.
The man continues on and, in a seemingly safe spot, falls through the snow and wets himself up to his shins. He curses his luck; starting a fire and drying his foot-gear will delay him at least an hour. His feet and fingers are numb, but he starts the fire. He remembers the old-timer from Sulphur Creek who had warned him that no man should travel in the Klondike alone when the temperature was fifty degrees below zero.
The man unties his icy moccasins, but before he can cut the frozen strings on them, clumps of snow from the spruce tree above fall down and snuff out the fire. Though building a fire in the open would have been wiser, it had been easier for the man to take twigs from the spruce tree and drop them directly below on to the fire. Each time he pulled a twig, he had slightly agitated the tree until, at this point, a bough high up had capsized its load of snow. It capsized lower boughs in turn until a small avalanche had blotted out the fire.
The man is scared, and sets himself to building a new fire, aware that he is already going to lose a few toes from frostbite. He gathers twigs and grasses. His fingers numb and nearly lifeless, he unsuccessfully attempts to light a match. He grabs all his matches--seventy--and lights them simultaneously, then sets fire to a piece of bark. He starts the fire, but in trying to protect it from pieces of moss, it soon goes out.
The man decides to kill the dog and puts his hands inside its warm body to restore his circulation. He calls out to the dog, but something fearful and strange in his voice frightens the dog. The dog finally comes forward and the man grabs it in his arms. But he cannot kill the dog, since he is unable to pull out his knife or even throttle the animal. He lets it go.
The man realizes that frostbite is now a less worrisome prospect than death. He panics and runs along the creek trail, trying to restore circulation, the dog at his heels. But his endurance gives out, and finally he falls and cannot rise. He fights against the thought of his body freezing, but it is too powerful a vision, and he runs again. He falls again, and makes one last panicked run and falls once more. He decides he should meet death in a more dignified manner. He imagines his friends finding his body tomorrow.
The man falls off into a comfortable sleep. The dog does not understand why the man is sitting in the snow like that without making a fire. As the night comes, it comes closer and detects death in the man's scent. It runs away in the direction of the camp, "where were the other food-providers and fire-providers."

About To Build a Fire
"To Build a Fire" is a prime example of the literary movement of naturalism. Naturalism was an offshoot of Charles Darwin's and Herbert Spencer's theories on evolution. In his monumental 1859 work Origin of the Species, Darwin theorized that environments alter the biology and behavior of organisms; the organisms whose traits promote survival reproduce more successfully and adapt new, more efficient traits. Spencer applied Darwin's ideas to the human environment, and Social Darwinism became one of the dominant philosophies in the late 19th century.
Naturalists saw evolution as proof that the world is deterministic and that humans do not have free will. Since the evolutionary world is based on a series of links (each of which causes the next), any action humans make is not, as we might otherwise believe, a "first" step. Rather, the action has been caused by prior environmental, social, and biological factors beyond our individual control.
This deterministic view influenced the naturalists in a number of philosophical areas. Since humans do not have free will, the naturalists refrained from making moral judgments on the actions of their characters; after all, the environment, and not the human, has determined these actions. The naturalists also viewed the deterministic environment as indifferent and harsh to its inhabitants; accordingly, keen instinct rather than civilized intellect is necessary for survival (in "To Build a Fire," the man is lacking this instinct).
Naturalists also changed their subjects and language to reflect their ideas. The lower classes were more conducive to depicting the harsh, indifferent environment, and in "To Build a Fire," the lower-class man is trying to strike it rich in the Klondike Gold Rush. Moreover, since the naturalists believed that the deterministic world could be understood only through scientific facts, their prose style was usually more journalistic and spare.
London journeyed to the Yukon Territory in 1897 along with countless others hoping to make a score in the gold rush. In November 1897, he staked a claim in Henderson Creek, the destination of the man in "To Build a Fire." Though he left Alaska the following summer without much gold, he would draw from his rich experiences in the northern wilds for many of his lasting works, including Call of the Wild and White Fang and, of course, 1908's "To Build a Fire," usually considered his most lasting work.

Character List
The man
The man in "To Build a Fire" is purposely not given a name, as the deterministic environment is more important than his free will and individuality. His goal at the start of the story is to reach the camp to meet "the boys," presumably to prospect for gold. The man's greatest deficiency, leading to his death, is his inability to think about the future consequences of present actions or facts; at the beginning of the story, London describes how the extreme cold does not make the man meditate upon mortality. More pertinently, the man does not realize that building a fire under a spruce tree may be dangerous. In all his actions, the man exercises only intellectuality--he thinks about the temperature in terms of degrees Fahrenheit, for instance, a scientific indicator. He never uses instinct, which would inform him without thinking that certain actions are dangerous. The dog, conversely, instinctively understands the danger of the cold without knowing what a thermometer is. Ultimately, the man's lack of free will exonerates him from any deep responsibility for the accidents he has, which is why London writes that the second accident was his "own fault or, rather, his mistake." A "fault" implies full responsibility, whereas a "mistake" suggests an isolated incident out of one's control.
The dog
The dog represents pure instinct, a trait necessary for survival in the harsh Yukon. Unlike the man, who requires the products of intellectual civilization--warm clothing, matches, maps, thermometers--the dog simply uses its own natural advantages--fur, a keen sense of smell. Perhaps more importantly, the dog has an instinctive understanding of the cold. It knows that such conditions are dangerous and unsuitable for traveling; when its feet get wet, it instinctively bites at the ice that forms between its toes. This sense of instinct preserves the dog as opposed to the man--it even knows instinctively when the man is attempting to kill it (to warm his hands in its carcass). Although the dog cannot create a fire for itself, or even hunt down food in the wild so well, its instinct keeps it alive and allows it to find the nearby camp of men--"the other food-providers and fire-providers."
The old-timer
The man remembers the advice of an old-timer from Sulphur Creek who warned him against traveling alone in the Yukon when the temperature is lower than fifty degrees below. The man first scoffs at this advice when he adeptly handles his first accident, but later understands the wisdom in the old-timer's caution: man is not instinctively fit for the harsh, indifferent environment of the Yukon.
The boys
The man is trying to meet "the boys" by six o'clock at night. Presumably, they are prospecting for gold. Though they never appear in the story, the boys (and the man) are examples of the lower-class characters naturalism turned its attention to; only men without much to lose would risk their lives in the harsh Yukon.

Major Themes
Determinism
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 Fire," London repeatedly shows how the man does not have free will and how nature has already mapped out his fate. Indeed, both times the man has an accident, London states "it happened," as if "it" were an inevitability of nature and that the man had played no role in "it." The most important feature of this deterministic philosophy is in the amorality and lack of responsibility attached to an individual's actions (see Amorality and responsibility, below).
Amorality and responsibility
A curious revision occurs when London writes that the man's second accident with the snow was his "own fault or, rather, his mistake." While both are damning words, "fault" is much more serious; it implies an underlying moral responsibility and role in future consequences, while "mistake" suggests an isolated incident outside of one's control. Likewise, the man believes his first accident is bad "luck," another word that connotes lack of free will. "Accident," too, insinuates an unforeseen or unanticipated event out of one's power.
If naturalism maintains that an individual has no free will (see Determinism, above), as London's careful phrasing suggests, then it is logical that the individual should not bear responsibility for his actions: if humans are not even in control of our own actions, why should we take responsibility for them?
The answer is that one should take responsibility for one's actions if one can anticipate potential consequences. Since the naturalistic world is based on causal links (see Causal links and processes, below), it should be possible, to an extent, to predict the consequences of our actions. The man could not have anticipated his falling through the snow, and therefore it is merely bad "luck." However, he should have anticipated that his other action--building a fire under a spruce tree--could carry potentially significant consequences: the snuffing out of the fire. Only in this anticipatory sense is he somewhat responsible. That London revises his judgment from "fault" to "mistake" suggests the gray area in the man's responsibility; while he should have anticipated the results of his actions, and thus be held liable, he did not, so he cannot be held liable.
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 project causal links in his mind. London tells us this from the start, describing how the extreme cold does not make him meditate in successively larger circles on man's mortality. He has also ignored advice about avoiding the cold, not thinking ahead to what might happen in such harsh conditions. This deficit hurts him most when he builds the fire under the spruce tree; he does not think ahead that he might capsize the tree's load of snow and snuff out the fire. Only by the end of the story, when he is near death, does he mentally process causal links, thinking about his own death and how others might come across his body. The ability to process these mental causal links is the only way one can be held responsible for his actions in naturalism (see Amorality and responsibility, above). Since the man does not make these mental links, he is not fully responsible for the accidents that befall him.
Instinct over intellectualism
Though the man is hardly an "intellectual," he exercises intellectual properties more than instinctive ones. He uses complicated tools (matches) to build a fire; he understand how cold it is through temperature readings; he identifies where he is (Henderson Creek, the Yukon) through language on a map. The dog, on the other hand, is pure instinct. It remains warm through its fur coat or by burrowing into the snow; it has an innate understanding of the cold and its dangers; it could not point out its location on a map, but it knows by scent where to find the nearby camp with men. In the Yukon, instinct is far superior to intellect. The man's intellect backfires on him. His ability to light the matches with his numb fingers suffers in the extreme cold, and both his fingers and the matches are examples of man's naturally selected advantage of intellect: man has fingers to operate tools, and his larger, more complex brain allows him to create such tools. The dog is much wiser, aware that the cold is too dangerous for them; it even knows when the man is trying to deceive it somehow (he wants to kill it and bury his hands in its warm carcass). Accordingly, only the dog survives, and though it may not be able to take care of itself fully, it instinctively knows to go to "the other food-providers and fire-providers" in the nearby camp.
Indifferent environment and survival
Naturalism not only maintains that the environment is deterministic (see Determinism, above), but indifferent. The environment does nothing to help its inhabitants; in fact, it is coldly indifferent to their existence and struggle. In "To Build a Fire," the Yukon would be bitterly cold without the man, as well, and it does not cease when the man struggles to stay alive. This indifference makes survival itself a critical goal for naturalist characters. As the story goes on, the man changes his goal from reaching the camp, to warding off frostbite, to merely staying alive. Naturalism thus elicits profound conflicts, man versus nature being one of them.
The objective power of numbers and facts
Naturalism maintains that the world can be understood only through scientific, objective knowledge. In "To Build a Fire," the reader receives a number of these hard facts. For instance, temperatures lower than negative fifty degrees Fahrenheit demarcate the danger zone of traveling alone. London tells us the exact amount of matches the man lights at once (seventy). Moreover, the man is preoccupied with the distance to the camp and the time he will reach it. These hard facts should arm the man with enough information to assess competently the deterministic environment (see Determinism, above), but he fails to do so before he is in mortal danger.
Naturalistic subject matter and language
Naturalist fiction writers devised new techniques and subject matters to convey their ideas. Generally, they focused more on narrative rather than character. "To Build a Fire" has a nearly nonstop narrative drive, and we only occasionally enter into the mind of the man--who does not even have a name in the story, indicating how little London is concerned with him as a unique person. Naturalists often used sparer, harder language to complement their plot-driven stories; this tendency can be seen as a verbal corollary to naturalism's preoccupation with objectivity (see The objective power of numbers and facts, above). Finally, naturalism usually turned its attention to the often-ignored lower classes. The man in the story is a lower- to middle-class drifter trying to strike it rich; no one with any wealth would risk his life in such brutal conditions.…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

To Build a Fire

...‘To Build a Fire” Jack London’s short story, “To Build a Fire,” takes place during a harsh winter in the forest of Alaska. This story is about a courageous but stubborn man who decides to confront the mighty forces of nature. This man takes a journey that not many would have taken, with a husky dog as his only companion. As he travels through the rough landscape of Alaska, he faces many natural obstacles. Facing these barriers make him more aware about reality about challenging the forces of nature, a challenge that in many times becomes a matter of life or death. Throughout the story the main character is not given a name, he is simply known as the “Man.” A hardheaded newcomer to the coniferous forest of Alaska; a man who thinks he knows it all, but is about to come in contact with the worst weather he has ever had to face. The man’s lack of experience led him to his downfall. As his journey began he went into the trail not well prepared, because of the low temperatures a face mask was well needed and he did not bother to wear one. “He does not recognize that man is so finial that the bitterly cold Alaskan inevitably destroys the individual” (McClintock 355). The man had trouble understanding that Nature was something that can never be fought against, but still his machismo personality set in and he was not going to back down from it. Fifty degrees below zero meant nothing to him, he knew it was going to be cold and uncomfortable, and that was it. It did not lead him to...

Words: 2200 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Antigone and to Build a Fire

...In Antigone written by Sophocles Antigone faces a tough decision, leave her dead brother’s burial spot alone or give him a proper burial and get put to death. In To Build a Fire by Jack London the character who remains nameless also faces death however his death is not a choice. The character in To Build a Fire suffers a death that is worse than the character in Antigone. Antigone had known her consequences and knew her fate but the character in To Build a Fire did not. He tried his best to survive flashing back to tips given to him by a wise man, on the other hand Antigone would not listen to anyone, she was going to do what she thought was right. “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more that our abilities” J.K. Rowling. Antigone had been warned by Creon “No one shall bury him, no one mourn for him…and the penalty- Stoning to death in the public square (pg. 461 lines 20-24). Antigone had tried to get her sister Ismene to help bury their brother but she did not want to disobey her leader Creon, although Antigone was set to marry Creon’s son they had both known the punishment. In To build a Fire the character also had a companion, his dog. He had brought his dog to let him go first in case of any traps he could get caught up on. In both of these they had each had a companion, the dog was more than willing to......

Words: 818 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Fire

...Why people don't respond to alarm signals People often fail to respond quickly to fire alarm signals. A common example: In a hotel, a fire alarm sounds late at night. Only a handful of people actually dress and leave (often using the elevators). A few people call the front desk. Many people periodically poke their heads out their doors to see what's going on. But mostly, people simply wait for the alarm signal to stop. Eventually, the alarm either shuts off, or someone (hopefully) comes to tell them that there is a real emergency and they must leave. This problem has aggravated and perplexed fire safety professionals over the years. Some denounce the public for their stupidity in failing to recognize the potential danger indicated by a fire alarm signal. Their concern is valid: in many fire emergencies, a rapid response is critical to survival. But attributing the problem to public stupidity is inaccurate and of no value in correcting the problem. In reality, people are simply exhibiting natural tendencies. Why don't people respond to alarm systems? There are several reasons. In this essay, these reasons are divided into two main categories: Alarm signals as sources of information. Other reasons why people do and don't respond apart from the information-value of alarm signals. Alarm signals as a source of information. In order to understand why people fail to respond to alarm signals, we need to look at the information-value of alarm signals. By......

Words: 1477 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Fire

...leaks or fires involving vehicles: (778) Your Answer: | are different than those for storage vessels. | | Correct Answer: | are the same as for storage vessels. | | Which of the following is the method most often used for controlling flammable liquid fires? (774) Your Answer: | Applying dry chemicals | | Correct Answer: | Applying foam | | Which of the following is NOT a main use for a master stream? (769) Your Answer: | As a backup handline | | Correct Answer: | Indirect fire attack | | Which of the following types of fire extinguishers should be used to extinguish fires in transformers at ground level? (782) Your Answer: | Stored-pressure water extinguisher | | Correct Answer: | Carbon dioxide extinguisher | | Which of the following is generally the first task of the second-arriving engine company? (789) Your Answer: | Assists with fireground support company operations | | Correct Answer: | Backs up the initial attack line. | | Once the basement is vented, which of the following types of crews is sent to complete extinguishment? (793) Your Answer: | Hoseline crew | | Correct Answer: | Nozzle crew | | What is one of the first actions to take when attacking a passenger vehicle fire? (797) Your Answer: | Extinguish any ground fire around or under the vehicle. | | Correct Answer: | Establish a safe working zone following U.S. DOT guidelines. | | Why do firefighters need to wear wildland fire......

Words: 412 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Factory Farms vs to Build a Fire

...wrote a short story about pure foolishness and the consequences of failing to snap to reality. The story is called “To Build a Fire”. It is about a nameless man who decides to travel in the subzero climate of the Yukon Trail, which is between Alaska and Canada. He also brings along his wolf dog as his only companion, although they are far from intimate and loving towards each other. As he is traveling along throughout the story, he continues to receive signs that he shouldn’t be out there. For example, right from the start he “…spat again. And again, in the air, before it could fall to the snow, the spittle crackled” (London 107). For any rational person, that would send a flag right up and they’d turn back to civilization until weather permitted them to continue. But not for this man, he knew it was cold and even kept track of the temperature in his head as he walked on. Not only did he ignore his own frostbite, but he also ignored the advice of an old timer who told him he shouldn’t go and if he went, he shouldn’t go alone. But hey, he is a man and men can do anything and everything they put their mind to right? Wrong! Sooner or later his lack of reason led him to fall through the ice and then build a fire under a giant spruce tree covered in a heavy layer of snow. He admits that it was “…easier to pull the twigs from the brush and drop them directly on the fire…each time he had pulled a twig he had communicated a slight agitation to the tree” (London 113). At this point,......

Words: 1127 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

To Build a Fire

...Abstract This essay is a literary analysis of Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.” Jack London has set before us a story of survival and pride. Although the main theme of man against nature is very clear to the reader, it is through the eyes of the traveler and the thoughts of the dog traveling that with him that we begin to see just how frail humans are. The newcomer to the Yukon is ill prepared for what lays before him. Never Travel Alone Jack London “To Build a Fire” There is a thin line between life and death. Our own fate truly lies in our own hands. We can choose to close our eyes and blindly push forward or open our eyes and see the dangers that lie ahead. Our traveler in this story blindly pushed forward. A newcomer to the Yukon, he was headed to a camp about ten hours away by foot to meet the “boys”. “Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray” (p. 518). This was the first warning our traveler ignored. A foreshadowing of what is to come. In the deep of the winter where the days are extremely cold, an old-timer to the Yukon warned the man, never travel alone and to never travel when the temperature was fifty degrees below zero. The man thinking he knew more than the old-timer chose to ignore the danger, his mind empty of all but one thought - reaching the camp by 6pm. Spitting into the air his spittle froze and cracked before hitting the ground, a clear sign that the temperature was much colder than fifty degrees below zero. ...

Words: 1298 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Fire

...to be facing. During those five precious minutes, someone's house is a blaze with fire. It is your duty to put that fire out, preserve as much as possible, and protect life. Do you think you could handle so much responsibility, pressure, and risk? I know I could. It is a dream of mine to become a firefighter in all sense of the word. I enjoy the thought of risk taking and even helping people, which is why I think that this profession would be just right for me. Ever since I was about 11 years old, and my house had caught fire, had I wanted to be a firefighter. Just watching all of those skilled firefighters mesmerized me. They had such precision and knew exactly what to do in what seemed every situation that would be thrown at them. I feel as though this is their personality and traits added to this accuracy at being so good at what they do. I also have quick reflexes, good stamina, and I tend to think of myself as a fast and logical thinking, just as they all were. I chose this career not only for my liking to it, but also because of the growth in the profession. Firefighting is a field that has potential for growth in the coming years, the education, requirements, and dedication are all equally important to this extremely dangerous, yet exciting job. Firefighting is one of the most dangerous jobs out in the occupation world today. Summed up as a whole, firefighters are trained to fight fires, rescue people in need and provide medical services for humans and animals. There......

Words: 750 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

To Build a Fire

...fault. In “Too Build A Fire” by Jack London, the main character ignores these blatant warnings and chooses to proceed towards the dangers ahead without a clue of the risk of injury or the possibility of death. London provides the reader with an early sign of what is to come with the opening statement that the “[d]ay had broken cold and gray” (114). Choosing to ignore this, the man continued on his journey to a far away camp. This may not have been such a problem if he traveled with another person like the “old-timer” told him. This wise man warned the young, thoughtless man “after fifty below, a man should travel with a partner” (121). Disregarding the old-timers rightful insight, the man proceeds with his one thought of getting to the camp by 6 pm. One thing the man did bring along was his husky. Even though he brings him along, he again omits another warning, this one being the dog’s behavior because of the cold. If the man treated his dog better, this indication of the dogs behavior may of been more obvious as the dog may of cared more about the mans life. Though these apparent symbols of the danger of traveling are present to the man, he continues his journey to his demise. Starting to feel the affects of the unbearable cold, the man stubbornly goes on with his original plans to make it to the camp. When he made fires along the way, the dog became intensely attracted and strongly urged to stay with it. The cold became so bad that when went to make a fire his......

Words: 403 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

To Build a Fire

...Nicole Carpenter Eng-2510 May 19, 2014 To Build A Fire In reading, “To Build A Fire, London writes about a nameless character who tries to travel through the Alaskan winter with no one with him. The unnamed man has a few characteristics that many of us can relate to and understand. He has a strong ego, disregards the suggestions of others, and loses his cool and panics when things become dire. These character flaws ultimately result in the unnamed man’s death. I believe there are other contributing factors because of the unnamed man’s lack of rational thinking only becomes clearer when he does not heed the warnings of someone who has been in similar situations and has been around the area much longer than he has. The unnamed character’s experiences let him know that we need to take the experiences both the good and bad from other and use them to make a better decision than we are sometimes use to. Even after all the advice the old- timer gave him he still with no regard continued on his journey until he breaks through the ice and threatens not only his travels but his life is when he truly sees the significance of using other people’s experience suggestions and warnings, The man’s luck does not get much better and after his fire gets extinguished by the snow the man panics and his lack of respect for nature and taking the easy way out picking out a spot too close to a tree led to his last panicking moments. He toyed with the thought of killing his dog to use its......

Words: 427 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Concept of Naturalism and to Build a Fire

...Concept of Naturalism in “To Build a Fire” In literature, naturalism has some fundamental characteristics. The plot involves man against nature and the burden of survival requires either adaptation or destruction of the characters involved. In this style of writing, nature or the natural world is continuously pushing man to his limits. When man heeds the warning signs, he may conquer it. But, when he ignores these warnings, it will defeat him. Naturalism is a general understanding of reality and humanity’s place with reality. It mirrors the events of daily life and shows how humans have to be careful when dealing with the natural world. In naturalism, nature is always waiting for man to make a mistake. Jack London in “To Build a Fire” focuses on the idea that nature is indifferent to man. He shows how violent and uncaring nature is. This short story features an unnamed man and his dog venturing into the Alaskan wilderness in the middle of winter. “To Build a Fire” is a short story that illustrates the concept of naturalism and how the natural world, which is dangerous, will gain the upper hand and man will perish. In Jack London’s “To Build a Fire”, the narrator makes it clear that the “unnamed” man is in a dangerous situation with the elements. The man is facing weather seventy-five degrees below zero and he is not prepared to survive. Jack London writes that the cold, “did not lead him to meditate upon his frailty as a creature of temperature, and upon man’s......

Words: 1244 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

To Build a Fire

...To Build a Fire Tamara Perez-Davis TUI University Module 1 – SLP ENG 102 Dr. Idara Essien-Wood Introduction "To Build a Fire" is told using the third-person point of view. The narrator is an outsider who tells the reader a story about the main character. A man that is so arrogant that he doesn’t even listen to his own instinct. London establishes this third-person point of view right from the beginning of the story, saying, “when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank.” The outsider narrator sets the stage by introducing the setting and referring to the main character as “the man.” It also starts to tell you the story of how really cold it was at that time and how he was not going to listen to anyone, even himself. Body There is a man that is traveling in the Yukon (in Alaska) on an extremely cold morning with a husky wolf-dog. The cold does not faze the man, a newcomer to the Yukon, who plans to meet his friends by six o'clock at an old claim. As it grows colder, he realizes his unprotected cheekbones will freeze, but he does not pay it much attention. He walks along a creek trail, mindful of the dangerous, concealed springs; even getting wet feet on such a cold day is extremely dangerous. He stops for lunch and builds a fire. The man continues on and, in a seemingly safe spot, falls through the snow and wets himself up to his shins. He curses his luck; starting a fire and drying his foot-gear will delay him at least......

Words: 954 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

To Build a Fire

...Trevor Russell To Build A Fire My favorite Sentence in this short story read, “On the top of this ice were as many feet of snow.” The sentence is at the beginning when the man is describing not only how far he came, but what it looked like. I picture the scene from the end of the movie Shooter. Mark Wahlberg is sniping some of the bad guys who worked for the government. He’s on the top of the snow covered mountain thats wide open, and he can see nothing but the bad guys for the government, and the white snow. “And to get his feet wet in such a temperature meant trouble and danger.” This sentence was my second favorite. In the story where this sentence appears the unnamed man is describing when he was walking down this stream coved in a half inch of ice, and how he panicked when he felt the give under his feet. I know his feeling in this situation. I feel into a stream that was frozen over one winter to save my niece that fell in while we were sledding down a hill. It was very cold, and I panicked as well. Even though it was very cold I wouldn't hesitate to do it agin, because I love my niece with all my heart. I liked that sentence, because it brought back that old memory with me and my niece. Yes we were having fun but sometimes you can have a little to much fun and not be paying attention, therefor you end up having to just in a frozen stream to save your little niece. My favorite character in this short story would have to be......

Words: 972 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Fire

...When we all started our carrers as firefighters wheatear we knew it or not we were all at the mercey of those more experienced at the station. While this typically what you would expect to see at the fire station it can definatily be a double edged sord. While rookie firefighters get the opputunity to be guided in the right the direction by the more seasoned firefighters the opposite is also true, and can lead the rookie down the wrong path. This can be attributed to a lot of reasons including: the seasoned firefighter has been taught the wrong path themselves, they may not have the patentece to guide a rookieor are have poor teaching skills, and of course they may just not care. Barring the last example(because we all know we work at a good station) the other examples can be detrimental to the new firefighter succeeding. A lot of what we do in the fire service can only be perfected through experience. Tring new ways to accomplish a small task is the firefighter way. Much of the basics of what we do in the fire service is learned at a fire school but is taught as general information with the understanding that each induvudal department, station and shft have their own way to handle fireground activities. This is a completely acceptable practice, it is part of the captains job to gage their crews skills abilities as well as have an understanding of their still alarm territory and target hazards. When a rookie firefighter first comes to the station sometimes it is easy......

Words: 482 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

To Build a Fire and the Grey

...‘To Build a Fire’ and The Grey both cover identical topics such as survival and perseverance. But the main theme shown in both is "in the wild, there are many factors which determine one's chances of survival." The two main characters go through similar events in their respective stories. The two men go through conflict of man vs. nature and are in comparable settings. In TFB an unidentified main character travels through extremely cold weather in order to make to his camp site. The grey also takes place in the north, a terrible storm causes their plane to crash in the frozen wilderness. It is significantly cold in TFB: “Fifty degrees below zero meant 80 degrees of frost. Such facts told him that it was cold and uncomfortable, and that was all.” Both males understand what such cold weather can do, although one shows it more than the other. Another problem with nature they encounter is the animals they must deal with. Ottway (Liam Neeson) and the other men encounter wolves multiple times while in TFB he knows killing the dog will provide him with warmth. They all show perseverance even with the many conflicts they must deal with. The men must endure the extreme cold temperature in order to survive. Snow was one of the main parts of the settings. With both stories set in the frozen wilderness the men acknowledge how to use their surroundings in order to survive. For example in TBF he realizes he could use the dog in order to help him stay in warm until he can build a......

Words: 370 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Fire

...South Canyon Fire Disaster (DRAFT) Introduction The South Canyon, or sometimes referred to as the Storm King Mountain Fire, that occurred in July 1994 is an intriguing disaster to study. What makes the disaster so intriguing is that another fire which occurred in 1949 called the Mann Gulch Fire, killed 13 firefighters and yet forty-four years later the same mistakes were made at the South Canyon Fire leading to the death of fourteen more firefighters. When compared to each other, both fires have almost the exact same topographical features, weather phenomena, and sequence of events. Both fires were located inside box canyons, or “small ravine or canyon with steep walls on three sides allowing access or egress only through the mouth of the canyon” (Wikipedia) and located on a major river. Gusting winds up the mouth of the canyon contributed to the fire blowing up and increase in size in just a matter of moments. On both fires, the practice of downhill fire line construction was used down steep mountain sides which hampered the fire crews in escaping uphill when the fire began to overrun them. In this paper, I plan on examining the organizational, executive, and regulatory failures that led to the demise of the fourteen firefighters on the South Canyon Fire and to address the major question, “Are wildfire fighting fatalities inevitable ‘normal accidents’?” South Canyon Fire Event In 1994, Colorado experienced a year of extreme drought and in the summer months, long......

Words: 2359 - Pages: 10