Jack London's Freezing Setting Turns Man Into Human Popsicle
In the story "To Build a Fire", by Jack London, the reader is shown how harsh the landscape is in the Yukon, and how it can affect a lone traveler. The author shows the empty, lonely, and dangerous terrain affecting the attitude of the main character; the man. This setting of the story has made the man go from cocky, to a little wary, to terrified for his life.
London starts his narrative with a description of the how bad the weather is on this particular day. He not only describes the sky as "cold and gray" (117), but as "exceedingly cold and gray" (117). There was an "intangible pall over the face of things" (117). The author is expressing that the weather is exceedingly bad, and shows us that the setting is gloomy and dark. He goes on to describe what the area looks like; just how empty the landscape is.
"As far as the eye could see, it was unbroken white..." (117), expressing the loneliness and barrenness of the country. Throughout the story, there are subtle and blunt messages showing just how dangerous it is for the man to be traveling in the area on this day, especially alone. A good example of how harsh the terrain can be, are the hidden springs below the snow. London continues to describe the harshness of the landscape, and how it affects the man.
As the story begins London explains how this harsh county is affecting the man's attitude about his situation. When the narrative begins the man is void of much emotion or any impact due to the climate. "..[T]he mysterious, far-reaching hairline trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold ... made no impression on the man"...