The Power Of Nature In Jack London's To Build A Fire

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Jack London’s short story, “To Build a Fire,” is the tragic tale of a man "who, against the advice of an old timer, ventures out into the harsh environment if the Yukon with only the company of a wolf-like dog. Due to his failure to heed the Old Timer's advice, the man is unprepared for the below freezing temperatures and becomes a victim of the harsh terrain. Towards the beginning of his journey, the man gets his feet wet as he falls through the ice into the water of a spring. The extremely low temperature means that the man needs to quickly build a fire to prevent his feet from freezing. Frantically, the man attempts to create a fire, however, his efforts prove to be ineffective. After several failed attempts, the man turns to his instincts to produce a solution. Initially, he tries to kill the dog and warm his hands in its carcass, but when that too fails, he becomes…show more content…
The dog symbolizes the power of nature, it ultimately survives by following its instincts, sensing both the natural threats of the terrain it travels as well as the barbaric agenda of the man to kill it for warmth. The dog's natural inclinations allow him to overcome the life-threatening obstacles that it encounters. This is evident when its feet get wet, the dog “quickly chews away the ice forming between his toes”(London 822). Similarly, the dog is aware that the man will provide him with food and warmth and decides to follow the man solely for this purpose. Towards the end of the story, the dog “caught the scent of death” as he approaches the man’s body lying in the snow(London 829). The dog abandons the body without a second thought to find other humans that can provide it with warmth and food because The Man no longer can. This demonstrates that the dog is able to survive because he is adapted to the environment while The Man dies because he is unaware of the power of
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