"to build a fire" by Jack London. essay about the main themes in the book.

Essay by xecutonr June 2003

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Victor Passapera

In the story "to build a fire" there are 3 themes, they are respecting nature because he thinks he is going to survive, and considering results of actions. The main theme is heeding warnings. The themes are shown through the characters actions. The character had an attitude that prevented him from heeding any warnings. He didn't respect nature therefore he died.

His attitude was arrogant and careless, he shows this when he is thinking "the old-timer told me it is not safe for a man to travel alone" but he still did it anyways. He called the old-timer "womanish". He knew that it was 75 degrees below zero and that his body was numb but he didn't care. A new comer with no experience he thought he was invincible. Neither the tremendous cold nor absence of sun made effect on him or so he thought. Even when he was about to die he thought, "freezing to death is not as bad as people thought it was" and "when he got back to the states he could tell the folks what real cold was".

These quotes show that the man did not take the situation seriously. Instead of dying with dignity he thought about himself "like a chicken running with its head off." He was doomed. The man learned his lesson the hard way. He encountered many warnings that it was too cold to be outside. First, his nose and cheeks went numb. His face, feet and hands fallowed. His beard grew icy of his breath. Beating his hands and rubbing his face helped the situation temporarily. After he got his feet wet they froze. He "wondered if his toes where warm or numb". When he lit the last fire he smelled his flesh burning, he could not...