Essay on To Build a Fire, by Jack London

871 Words 4 Pages
No one plans on or even wants to lose their life due to an unfortunate mishap. Isn’t it better to check twice and thoroughly plan ahead as opposed to finding oneself in an unfortunate situation? No wonder mothers ask so many questions; they leave no scope for misunderstanding. Jack London’s “To Build A Fire,” both 1902 and 1908 versions, cause distress in readers’ minds and make them wonder how a simple topic of surviving in the cold can turn out so horrific. A handful of alterations were made to the original version of the story; some add a completely new meaning, while others only provide slight nuances. Most will find that a distinct portion of the 1908 version relates to naturalism and realism—terms that resemble the unpredictable …show more content…
Conversely, the absence of a name in the 1908 version creates a mystery as to who “the man” really is (483). By not giving out his identity or his origins, London allows a larger audience to connect with him. In some ways, the removal of the name enables the reader to be “the man”—a simple use of naturalism. Without a name, a character may lose significance; after the death of “the man” in the revised edition, the dog simply continues on without heartbreak, “Then it turned and trotted up the trail” (493). Giving details allows focus on the story as a whole, while removing some leaves room for the readers to draw their own conclusions.
At times, taking single steps may seem like the correct way to go, but taking a jump without any support might be a simpler option. Everything may be perfect until the last second, but still end in a tragedy. The figure in 1902 seems as if he knows everything will turn out alright. He also seems confident of his actions and not at all worried that he may not last through the brutal weather. “The frost was sixty-degrees below zero, and he had thirty miles of lonely trail to cover, but he did not mind. In fact, he enjoyed it,” London informs readers near the beginning (116). There is no need to worry—the journey could even be considered a vacation, or at least pleasurable. In such weather

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