Syntax in To Build a Fire

Syntax Examples in To Build a Fire:

To Build a Fire 2

"where were the other food-providers and fire-providers...."   (To Build a Fire)

London’s use of language, describing the men at the camp in compound phrases such as “food-provider” and “fire-provider,” allows us to slip into the dog’s consciousness. Here, we find no spiritual connection between human and canine, but rather a relationship built on survival.

"Once in a while, the thought reiterated itself that it was very cold and that he had never experienced such cold...."   (To Build a Fire)

London carefully builds this statement so we understand the thought as separate from the man: it is not “his thought.” London’s decision to structure the narrative in such an objective way reflects how distant the protagonist is from the consequences of his situation. This produces dramatic irony. The reader understands the imminent danger the protagonist is in more clearly than he does.