To Build a Fire by Jack London

It is a possibility that a person aiming to achieve a goal or ideal may encounter obstacles along the way. When a person is arrogant it becomes more difficult to be successful in the ways of which they wish to be. In To Build a Fire, a story written by Jack London, the reader can perceive this outlook on a person’s success be correct. To Build a Fire is straightforward and to the point as it includes logical ideas, simple diction, and an omniscient point of view. This aids the audience in an effortless understanding of the short story.

Jack London begins the story with usage of repetition saying, “Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey…” The author did this in order to emphasize the harsh weather conditions of their environment. The setting plays a significant part throughout the story, as it exposes the atmosphere of the characters surroundings. This is important because the extreme weather is the main conflict within the writing.

This story is about the main character whom is unnamed and is referred to as the bearded man, who is conceited in his skill and mindset. The man makes it obvious that in his world failure is far from him and not an option in his doing. When the man set off on his journey he was given a piece of advice on the dangerous of traveling in such conditions. The man ignorantly disregards the advice given to him, and goes off onto his journey felling superior to the man of advice. The bearded man lacked not only skill but awareness in traveling alone in the such harsh weather conditions, but nothing stopped the man in believing anything was possible. People often allow their sense of pride to prevent one’s success without the knowledge of doing so. It is important for a person to understand their individual capabilities, because this just so happens to help a person become one step closer to thriving.

The bearded man makes several mistakes that hold him back from achieving his ideal goal. He overlooked most things, he became numb, and in the end unable to even try to help himself. The audience may see this as man against nature, and that is exactly what it is. The man assumed he could get through miles and hours of ice and cold, but because of ignorance and without the knowledge of his own limits nature wins this case.

The authors purpose of this story is to show the reader the frailness of man in our natural world. Throughout the story nature overpowers man countless times, up until other nature overpowers man to the end. The man in the story figured he was enough to conquer the dangerous possibilities that nature had in store for him. The author also writes in a way that allows the reader to emotionally connect with the story. For example, the repetition of the temperature most likely leads the reader to wonder or try to relate to being in those extreme temperatures, along with thoughts on what they would do in the same situation. I guess you could say nature has no care or feelings, it simply runs its course, and with that there is nothing anyone can do to change the outcome of its course.

Towards the end of the story the man began to take notice of his ignorance. He realized he would not be successful in his journey back to the camp. He also decided to accept the outcome of his decisions with dignity. Man in this case is unable to defeat nature, and with that he dies.

This short story is significant and can be a lesson to many, and to others an eye opener. A lesson in ways that will help you understand the difficulties that may come with traveling in such conditions. And an eye opener to help the readers understand just how powerful the nature of our world actually is.

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To Build a Fire by Jack London. (2021, Jun 06). Retrieved June 7, 2023 , from

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