Short Fiction

To Build a Fire

Jack London’s short story To Build a Fire was originally published in Century Magazine in 1908 and later reprinted in the 1910 collection Lost Face. While this masterpiece’s plot is quite simple, London uses this story to provide readers with what he considered a universal truth: nature is indifferent to the needs of humankind, and everyone and everything on the planet is a part of the natural order. Whereas the man ignores the warnings of others to travel great distances in the extreme cold, his dog senses the problems of making the journey. The main conflict centers on the relationship between humans and nature. The man’s attempts to survive, combined with London’s direct, uncomplicated prose, provide a powerful expression of his stark message.

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