Literary Responses In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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Growing up, we are always told to listen to others, but is this really sage advice? “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, is the tale of an adventure through the wild Yukon Trail of Alaska. A man hikes the trail alongside a dog and has to survive the harsh cold, and the only way to do that is to build a fire. An old man from Sulphur Creek gives him advice, to never travel alone in the area’s extreme cold, but he ignores it. London’s text shows us that you should listen to those who know more than you, or harsh consequences will follow your recklessness. London reveals this moral to his audience through his characters, major events in the story, and his use of literary devices. The events in the story help to highlight how listening to others can save your life. At one point, the man sits down to eat his lunch and realizes that he forgot to build a fire. He recalls the man from Sulphur Creek, “That man from Sulphur Creek had spoken the truth when telling how cold it sometimes got in this country. And he had laughed at him at the time!” This illustrates the man’s initial confidence. While some may argue that his arrogance is what led him to overlook the old man’s admonition, they forget that in the text it highlights the man’s negligence. It describes, “Nor did he think about man’s general weakness, able to live only within narrow limits of heat and cold.” The man does not listen to the wisdom bestowed upon him by the old man from the beginning and it leaves him forgetful and

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