Mimesis In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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Mimesis is the imitation of life, capturing the human condition and painting it in a way so that others can experience it. Simply put, literature is the most effective way to do this. It allows the author the freedom to choose how they want to express every last detail of the story, the moment, and the event they want to capture and share with others. With this many works of literature make their way into the hearts of people that become touched by these stories. Jack London was one of these authors. He captured the human condition in way no one had done before and for that he became a man with who left his mark as an innovator in literature and cemented his legacy as one of the greatest authors of all time.
Jack London, born John Griffith
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In this tale he tells the story of a man traveling through the Yukon in the immense cold (-50°). The man is not a native to this place and he is never given a name. The new comer to this land is seemingly unfazed by the cold as he is on trudges on to meet his friends at a campsite by six o’clock. He is thought to be traveling alone until we are introduced to his companion, a husky native to the land. As he goes on with his journey he realizes that the cold he is enduring is colder than he thought and that his cheeks become frozen the further and further he travels (-70°). He reaches several dangerous streams and ponds frozen over with ice. He walks carefully as if he were to fall in, this would be the end of his journey as he would surely perish of the cold. The husky knows the dangers of the cold and travels wearily with the man knowing that this is not any condition to travel in. Yet, being ever so careful, he steps on a seemingly safe space and falls knee deep in to the pit of water. Initially the man is upset that he will be late to meet his friends, but he understands he needs to warm himself. In a hurry to save himself he finds a location to start a fire to warm his feet and dry his moccasins. He starts the fire successfully and beings to warm himself. Even so, when all seems hopeful the snow on the tree above him where he started the fire falls and his fire gets snubbed out. In an…show more content…
When delving deeper into text we can see that London showcases the relationship of Nature vs Man. In doing so he introduces to the reader the harsh fact that nature is the true enemy of man. Nature does not care of the human condition and or about humanity in anyway. It also highlights the fact that nature is an unrelenting unstoppable force that man has no control over. Therefore, man must live within the confines nature allows man to live in, meaning nature is the ruler of man. London also introduces the themes of instincts, primitivity, judgement, and foolishness. All these themes in the story are interconnected as they play into the central conflict. The fact that the man decides to ignore the advice of others in traveling in conditions he shouldn’t is not only a neglect of better judgement and instinct but shows the foolishness within the man as he believes he has the upper hand against the forces of nature. We also can see that in the story the dog is a symbol and representation of instinct. The dog himself is aware that the conditions they are in are no conditions for survival. Yet this is further highlighted by the fact the dog has no knowledge of the actual temperature, unlike the man. Still the dog knows he must find fire and food for his survival being the reason that when the man dies at the end of the story he continues
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