Literary Devices In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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In Jack London’s, “To Build a Fire”, London uses literary devices to contrast the narrator’s dark and ominous tone with the main characters cavalier temperament. By presenting the readers to the setting, London begins to show them that the tone is very unhappy and fearful. Along with setting, the narrator presents the somber tone of the story through the total omniscience point of view. Additionally, various symbols are employed throughout the story to help support the narrator’s dark tone. Finally, the usage of foreshadowing from the start to the finish of the story helps to keep the fearful and dark tone. London engages the reader through the use of literary devices, combining setting, total omniscience point of view, symbolism, and foreshadowing.…show more content…
Each symbol is used to more fully support the tone of the story. In London’s intensified setting, the most important symbol for the man is the symbol of fire. For the entire story, the man is working to build a fire, in the end dying because of his failure to do so. As a reader, we observe the protagonist go through frantic and desperate means in order to survive. Whether or not the man can build a fire in the story represents life and human’s ability to survive against nature. The man’s failure to build a fire further reinstates the dark and ominous tone presented by the narrator. Similar to fire, the man’s hands represents the relationship between life and death. The narrator describes that, “He kept his head to one side to escape the strangling fumes, and held the blazing bunch to the birch bar. And so he held it, he became aware of sensation in his hand. His flesh was burning. He could smell it. Deep down below the surface he could feel it”(131). This scene helps to continue the desperate tone the narrator developed. The pain is very intense, yet the man know that his survival lays between whether or not he can start the fire. His hands are his only way of keeping his life. Although, in the end he loses both. When focusing on the symbol of the dog, we see that the dog represents the reality and instinct of the story. Constantly we are reminded that the dog instinctively knows that…show more content…
London engages the reader through the use of literary devices, combining setting, total omniscience point of view, symbolism, and foreshadowing. By presenting the setting to the readers, London begins to show them that the tone is very unhappy and fearful. Like setting, the narrator presents the somber tone of the story through the total omniscience point of view. Additionally, various symbols are employed throughout the story to help support the narrator’s dark tone. Finally, the usage of foreshadowing from the start to the finish of the story helps to maintain the fearful and dark tone. London’s ability to incorporate the literary devices of setting, total omniscience point of view, symbolism, and foreshadowing is what helps to create the dark and ominous tone of the
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