Survival In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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“When you're in the battlefield, survival is all there is. Death is the only great emotion.” This quote by Samuel Fuller relates to the protagonist in the short story, “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London, and how he felt overpowered with the idea of death. When people are put in a life or death situation, they steps they take in order to survive share a certain correspondence mentioned in “Deep Survival,” by Laurence Gonzales. Yet when put in a life threatening situation the protagonist failed to follow a few of these steps which lead to his eventual death. The steps that the main character failed to complete during his expedition into the vast wilderness include staying calm, taking decisive action, and surrendering the fear of death. One…show more content…
He continued to remember that there is a good chance he would die. First it says, “It was as though he had just heard his own sentence of death” (London 85). In this comment, it is shown that the man cannot think clearly because the fear of death clouds his judgment. Next, the man focuses on the fact that he may be freezing to death, rather than concentrating on finding a way to survive. The author says, “A certain fear of death came to him…. he realized that this was a matter of life and death rather than just the freezing of hands and feet” (London 89). The last example of the man’s fear of death is shown by the sentences, “Maybe, if he ran on, his feet would thaw out; and, anyway, if he ran far enough, he would reach camp and the boys….And at the same time there was another thought in his mind that he would never get back to the camp and the boys; that he would soon be stiff and dead” (London 89). This explains how even after everything he still has not let go of the thought of his potential death, even after all of his efforts. Letting go of the fear of death is a key item in survival, and if the man could he let go he could have made it to the camp and “his
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