To build a fire is a short story written by Jack London. It is a story about an individual’s choice. The main character’s self-centeredness overcomes him, as he tries to survive the wintery weather in his travel in the Yukon Trail. He made a choice of ignoring the weather warnings, which evidenced danger in his journey. There were warnings like the absence of fellow travelers due to the cold season, but his egoism made him still embark on the journey alone, despite the warnings. The protagonist’s pride and arrogance leads to a regrettable outcome, as it leads to his downfall. The protagonist made the wrong choices because of his egotism, and arrogance and they led to his downfall. He defied nature due to his lack of logical judgment, and this led to his unpromising end in the story.
The protagonist was reluctant to realize that he was making a mistake by traveling in a bad weather, and this exemplifies that, his arrogance overpowered his rationale. Before his trip, he had no knowledge or the weather conditions at that time on the Yukon trail to Henderson Creek. He was an inexperienced, ignorant, and conceited traveler as it is confirmed through his ignorance of the bad weather. London writes, “He took off the glove on his right hand. He opened his jacket, and shirt,” he did this despite knowing that it was very cold, and this could make him freeze ( London 650). After realizing he was freezing, he quickly puts them on again, but never learns. In another incident, “His wet feet had frozen. He could not feel his fingers. His nose was frozen, too. The skin all over his body felt cold,” but he never halted his journey, he kept moving (London 651). The protagonist failed to see the danger that was ahead of him, and disregarded all t…
…ake the right choice by abandoning his journey and turning back, his pride made him make illogical decisions. In the end, it was evident that he could not defy nature, thus his death. The man’s lack of rational judgment, pride, and arrogance, led to his death. In the story, nature proves that, in a conflict between nature, and man, man will always be on the losing end, because, man is subject to the forces of nature.
London, Jack. “To Build a Fire.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature.
Ed. Nina Baym. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. 650-660. Print
Bendixen, Alfred, and James Nagel, eds. A Companion to the American Short Story.
Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Print.
Pizer, Donald. Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Crosscurrents Modern Critiques. Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009. Print.