To Build A Fire Annotation Paper
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Jack London is a well-renowned author with titles including White Fang and his most famous novel: The Call of the Wild. London gains his reputation with his style of writing which builds interest in the reader while relating what the characters are facing in the story. This style is also seen in his brilliant short story “To Build a Fire.” In “To Build a Fire,” London helps the reader to relate to the story by introducing themes that humanity must deal with at some point in its life; ignorance, life-or-death decisions, and a realization of or coming to terms with death. The hardest theme for people to grasp is the realization of death.
Ignorance is very prevalent throughout society. In the story, the main character becomes very familiar with ignorance. The first occurrence is the mere fact that the main character risks a hike in temperatures seventy-five below zero. He understands that what he is doing is ignorant, yet he continues to commence his trek. London incorporates this with, “But all this-the mysterious, far-reaching hairline trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness and weirdness of it all-made no impression on the man”(133). When the man decides to continue through the sheer cold, he makes a very ignorant decision, and the reader can understand this by correlating it with a certain occurrence or event in their life. On rare occasions, being ignorant may lead someone to have to make a life-or-death decision, which is another theme London incorporates in his stories.
Life-or-death decisions, too, are common throughout society. If someone makes the wrong decision in a life-or-death decision, there is a grave possibility that he may not survive. London uses this in his story with the mans decision to build a fire to warm up. London states, “Well, here he was; he had had the accident; he was alone; and he had saved himself”(136). When the man stops to build a fire and thaw out, he makes the right decision and saves his own life. When he decides to build the fire, he is making a decision that is best for his health. If someone makes the wrong decision in a life-or-death decision, he must come to terms with death.
Most people do not come to a realization of death early on in their lives. It may be because they do not