Humanity And Nature In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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In “To Build A Fire” the author Jack London uses the contrast of humanity and nature to illustrate how fallible we are. We repeatedly see instances where mistakes return to haunt the man. Jack London as a prospector undoubtedly saw many deaths like these. Prospectors who thought the rules were for the“womanish”, who were later found dead, or never found at all. “The absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness and weirdness of it all”- The Yukon is the perfect setting for this story. It is one of the few wild places left; reminding us of how small and inconsequential we truly are. A place that reminds us that you do not get a second chance and one misstep can mean your life. That you must be quick and alert, not only in the things of life but also the significances of them. In the best of times the Yukon is unforgiving, it is cruelest in winter. In some of the most extreme conditions on earth no matter how careful you are, you are…show more content…
His inability to grasp the scope of this new world blinds him to both the advice of others and the world around him. While he observes “the changes in the creek, the curves and bends and timber jams” and pays careful attention to where he places his feet, his subtle mistakes shine through. London says, “He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances.” He does not bother to linger on the repercussions of the cold, “Fifty degrees below zero was to him just precisely fifty degrees below zero. That there should be anything more to it than that was a thought that never entered his head.” He ignores the advice of the experienced prospector even though he had been “very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below.” There are reasons you don’t go out without a partner in sub-zero
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