Perseverance In The Klondike Essay

981 words - 4 pages

“To Build a Fire” written by Jack London, was published in 1902 and then re-published again in 1908, which is the most recognized. London sailed to join the Klondike Gold Rush in July of 1897, his time there influenced many of his works. The main character of the story is an unnamed man, a newcomer to the Yukon, who is going to meet his friends at an old claim. His companion is a big husky wolf dog, whose instincts tell him that it is too cold to venture out , but he relentlessly follows the food and fire provider. All of the elements are against the man, but he continues to push forward even when he loses feelings in his hands and legs. The man finally comes to the realization that he is going to die; he lies down in the snow and falls into a comfortable sleep. The dog stays with the man for a while confused and wondering why he is laying in the snow, he curiously walks up to the man and sniffs; the smell of death fills his nostrils. The dog leaves the man and searches for the other food and fire providers. In London’s “To Build a Fire”, he displays the perseverance that the man undergoes in various stages as he faces his imminent death.
When the man starts this journey he is unaware of the fate that Mother Nature has in store for him. The weather is seventy five below zero, his beard is frozen and caked in amber icicles from spitting his dip out. The longer the man walks his cheeks start to get frost bit and he rubs them to attempt to keep the feeling, he continues to push forward brushing the problem off not thinking anything about it.” Bit painful, that was all; they were never serious.” (3). Sublime to the slow effects the weather is having on him, he stops around noon for a lunch break. Instead of immediately building a fire to warm up, he takes off his mittens and grabs his lunch, instantly his hands freeze and he has to slap them on his legs to regain feeling. “He had forgotten to build a fire and thaw out. He chuckled at his foolishness, and as he chuckled he noted the numbness creeping into the exposed fingers.”(4) Despite the man’s foolishness, he successfully made it to a halfway point without much disaster and with ease.
“At a place where there were no signs, where the soft, unbroken snow seemed to advertise solidity beneath, the man broke through. It was not deep. He wet himself halfway to the knees before he floundered out to the firm crust.”(5). The story takes a turn for worst, he has to immediately build a fire and dry his feet or his fate is sealed. Instead of going into hysterics, the man knows that time is of the essence and he quickly...

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