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To Build a Fire

To Build a Fire

by Jack London

To Build a Fire Analysis

Literary Devices in To Build a Fire

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

You could definitely argue that along with our main man, the setting is the most important thing in this story. The story is set in the Yukon during the great Klondike Gold Rush, when over 100,000...

Narrator Point of View

There are two main reasons the narrator of this story is omniscient instead of limited: first, the narrator not only tells us what the man is thinking, but contrasts it with what the dog is thinkin...

Genre

In this story, Jack London puts a tragic spin on the classic tale of wilderness survival. The original 1902 version of this story was just straight-up adventure, with the man surviving because of h...

Tone

When the story begins, we might assume that we are getting a peek at the thoughts of the unnamed man, who finds the day not just "cold and gray" but "exceedingly cold and gray" (1); but it is uncle...

Writing Style

The dispassionate tone might make you expect the writing to be bland, but London constructs sentences that give incredibly descriptive accounts of the setting and the main character's response to i...

What's Up With the Title?

Why does Jack London call this story "To Build a Fire" instead of "Building a Fire" or "The Importance of Fire"? Well for starters, it sounds a lot more poetic and nice. But the use of the infiniti...

What's Up With the Ending?

Then the man drowsed off into what seemed to him the most comfortable and satisfying sleep he had ever known. The dog sat facing him and waiting. The brief day drew to a close in a long, slow twili...

Tough-o-Meter

For the most part, London's language is straightforward and easy to understand. But he does throw in a pretty long sentence every now and then. For example, the opening sentence of the story is thi...

Plot Analysis

Biscuits, Bacon, and the BoysThe man starts out with only a slight awareness of how cold it is. He wants to get to the mining camp at Henderson Creek so he can whip his biscuits out of his sweaty s...

Trivia

Hey, you know that cabin the man's trying to get to in "To Build a Fire"? You know, the one located on the left fork of Henderson Creek? Well Jack London is probably writing about the exact cabin t...

Steaminess Rating

It's way too cold for anything steamy to be happening in this story, unless you count the man's breath turning to vapor in the frigid Yukon air.
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