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To Build a Fire

To Build a Fire

  

by Jack London

Guide Mentor

Character Role Analysis

The Old-Timer at Sulphur Creek

He's the only one who gives advice to the unnamed man, telling him that one should never travel without a companion in temperatures lower than fifty below. However, the tragedy of this story comes from the fact that the main character laughs at the old man and thinks him "womanish." The wisdom of the old-timer's advice dawns on the man only after it's too late. So he's a guide, sure, but nobody's being guided.