The Role Of Ignorance In Ernest Hemingway's To Build A Fire

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Throughout the story, the author uses the dog as a symbol to highlight the mistakes of the traveler and show how the situation would be better off had the advice been followed. For example, during the beginning of the story the dog is observed as “depressed by the tremendous cold” (1114). Even the dog knew by instinct that it should not be out in the cold. Despite the fact that humans are thought to be able to think logically, the traveler was clouded by his thoughts and overconfidence. If he had taken the hint from the animal that was so uncomfortable traveling out into the snow, perhaps he would have waited for better traveling conditions. Later on, the dog is forced ahead of the man to test the river for insecure ice traps. The dog eventually falls through, splashing in and the water “immediately clung and turned to ice” (1116). The…show more content…
The main character is extremely overconfident, ignoring the advice that those who know much more about the land give him. He decides to embark on the journey despite the warnings of cold from the elders, does not take a partner, and ignores survival advice during the moments where there is no time to make mistakes. The man is so ignorant that he even ignores his own observations. When it’s observed that it could be as cold as seventy degrees below zero, the main character is more amused than concerned at the realization. As he notices his cheeks are freezing, he acts like it’s nothing to be worried about, despite the fact that this is evidence that his body is not properly covered up. The dog who showed every sign that it would be better to stay warm for the day was even ignored by the man, blinded by his vision to complete his task. By showing the reader the consequences of ignorance again and again, the author was able to deliver the message that too much ignorance and confidence can be a huge flaw, sometimes even
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