Before he set out, an old man told him that it was too cold at 50 below zero to travel without a companion. The dog falls through the ice, but quickly crawls out on the other side. The man removes his mittens to pile the sticks and light the fire and his fingers quickly grow numb. As his predicament worsens, his need to build a fire becomes more urgent. He knew it was very cold and his body was numb, but he failed to realize the danger. He remembers that he ought to start a fire to warm up by while he eats.
The author could have stated the man had a lot of matches, or, a little, but he gave an approximate number. London's letter closed by stating paraphrase that the prize jewels of justice, liberty, and self-determination cannot be simply handed over to all the lesser classes and races. He fights his growing alarm that each second spent trying to grab the bark is another second in which his feet freeze more fully. London is known for gripping fiction that sets man against nature and he doesn't disappoint with this story. Generally, they focused more on narrative rather than character.
The temperature is extremely cold because the mans spit freezes before it hits the ground. The father was a St. Each time he removes his gloves, the man is surprised at how quickly his fingers are numbed. The creek is fully frozen, but streams of water run from the hillsides under the snow. The word existentialist, as well as the subject of existentialism itself, evades definition. The man reaches into his pocket to get a piece of tree bark that will easily catch fire and help him start his fire. His quickly freezing face shows that he is not prepared for these extreme conditions, and yet he overlooks this warning sign, yet again.
It is this kind of action, which makes the setting an adversary and a companion for the protagonist of the story. Throughout his writings, many characters display London's belief in Darwinism. Some of the characteristics of naturalism are being conditioned or controlled by the environment, having the world understood only through objective science, conflicts which bring out the instincts of man, pessimism, and presenting a viewpoint which is detached from the reader. He laughs, realizing he should have immediately made a fire. Jack London: Master Craftsman of the Short Story. The dog barks and tries to break free. The plot becomes void if the man has not the enemy and companionship of the setting therefore producing a heavy reliance on that setting.
While we can see that is was the environment that overcame the man, it had done nothing to begin with. Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again. The man leaves against the advice of a local and after a short time realizes that he should have waited. There could be a link between the two but i doubt it seeing as he wasnt religious. GradeSaver, 1 July 2002 Web. It takes imagination to understand man's place in nature and the forces at work in the universe. The constantly dropping temperature further complicates the man's hike.
The man imagines himself clever and hardy enough to stand the cold; the dog is closer to nature, without knowledge of distances or maps, or understanding of the degrees of frost. He is able, however, to wrap his arms around the dog and hold it. The man is no longer only disconnected from the world around him; he is beginning to lose his connection to his own body. Moreover, the man is preoccupied with the distance to the camp and the time he will reach it. He cannot hold his knife. Eventually, the man gets the pack of matches between his mitten-clad hands and then into his mouth, breaking the ice as he wrenches his jaw open. Since the naturalistic world is based on causal links see Causal links and processes, below , it should be possible, to an extent, to predict the consequences of our actions.
London uses certain techniques to establish the atmosphere of the story. As the story goes on, the man changes his goal from reaching the camp, to warding off frostbite, to merely staying alive. But he cannot kill the dog, and freezes to death. Jack London's short story To Build A Fire provides an excellent example of this. The man encountered many internal warnings that it was too cold to be outside. The setting of this story is one of the northernmost most areas of the earth, the Yukon.
Naturalism thus elicits profound conflicts, man versus nature being one of them. These hard facts should arm the man with enough information to assess competently the deterministic environment see Determinism, above , but he fails to do so before he is in mortal danger. Fire mediates species interactions thereby reducing conflict. Without the supervision of their parents or of the law, the primitive nature of the boys surfaces. Those old-timers were rather womanish, some of them, he thought.
Note here that Nature isn't actively out to get the man, nor is the danger he experiences unique to him. So it is no accident that at the heart of the story lies an existentialist theme. He purposely did not give a name to the man or the dog. Eventually, the man begins to accept death. Naturalism showed how humans had to be wary at every corner because at anytime death could be there, waiting for them to make a mistake and forfeit their lives. Because the man is only quick and alert to the things of life and not the significance, he finds himself in some very bad circumstances. They are respecting nature, and considering results of actions.
The man's frozen hands are particularly relevant as his fate rests on his ability to manipulate his fingers. He strikes his numb, bare fingers against his leg to warm them. In wanting to help out the giant who mislead Jack's father into thinking he was a gentleman who had lost everything in an earthquake the giants story differs although he did make up a story of some sort. What the Dog Knows The Dog Knows The man and the dog are compared to each other often in the story: the man knows the temperature, while the dog does not. The miner is the protagonist and the dog companion is called the foil. The man follows through with intellect while the dog follows by with instinct.