Although neither man nor dog is aware, the temperature of the day is seventy-five degrees below zero. Also in keeping with the naturalist tradition, the man is obviously not a member of the upper class. He chews tobacco as he walks, and his spit freezes in an icicle from his mouth in the extreme cold. Then he thinks to himself how the Old Timer was right. He then attempted to make a fire, but snow from a branch falls and puts the fire out.
But the young miner thought he could beat the cold and headed out, and it cost him his life. The man smokes his pipe, enjoying the brief break. Occasionally, he reflects on the cold, realizing that he has never experienced such extreme temperatures before. I read To Build a Fire and other Klondike Stories in the Library of America collection. Ask students to discuss what effect having this omniscient knowledge has on the story.
I didn't like White Fang as it had several 'gory' parts I didn't want to read aloud. He realizes he cannot feel his toes and feet, and the ice frozen around his mouth in his beard obstructs his eating. The man then imagines his friends finding his frozen body the following day, and admitting to the old man from Sulphur Creek that he was right about traveling alone in such harsh conditions. What does this suggest about the dog's relationship to nature? He decides that the only way he will be able to stay warm is to call the dog over and kill it, then slice open its stomach and warm his hands inside the dog. And the poor people helped stone him, and were fools.
To Build A Fire is a classic and deserves its fame but some of the others give ideas of how different people and groups of people react to the cold of the Yukon and to one another. He carefully adds grasses and wood to the small flame, which promises life. There was no sun nor hint of sun, though there was not a cloud in the sky. The old man at Sulpur Creek had told him that no man should travel alone if it was colder than fifty degrees below zero. Then he dies of hypothermia. This film has accomplished creating that same aura of fatalism. He knows enough to understand that he must stop and build a fire.
But his endurance gives out, and finally he falls and cannot rise. They are never in the story but the man mentions them. Always man, near prime of life, downtrodden, capitulates to harsh climate. In this vision, the group finds his body lying in the snow and the man feels that his is outside himself, looking at his body. We don't hear any sympathy from the narrator, either for the dog or the miner, and there is only a small lesson learned for the reader: don't underestimate nature. At one point, suspecting a spring, he pushes the reluctant dog forward to investigate.
. The man ignores this mans advice, and thinks that the man is an old weakling. London based the story on his own travels across the harsh, frozen terrain of Alaska and Canada in 1897-98 during the Klondike gold rush; he is also said to have relied on information from a book by Jeremiah Lynch entitled Three Years in the Klondike. Oh yeah, and there's a half-tame wolf dog following along at his heels. As the night comes, it comes closer and detects death in the man's scent.
As the man walks, he spits, only to discover that the liquid from his mouth freezes in the air as it falls. Under some pine trees at the top of the bank, the man discovers some dry wood and grasses. The young miner's pride got the best of him, as he headed out into the cold against the advice of a more seasoned miner, who told him to never travel alone in temperatures lower than 50 degrees below zero. The story takes place in the Yukon during one of the long night. Mere death is no excuse. In sudden desperation, the man removes both gloves and strikes the whole pack of matches. His fingers numb and nearly lifeless, he unsuccessfully attempts to light a match.
The man is trying to be practical when he is overwhelmed for the first time by fear of his own death. I hope this helps anyone looking to understand the story a little better or to use instead of actually reading the book, even though it's only eleven pages long. The creek is fully frozen, but streams of water run from the hillsides under the snow. Always man, near prime of life, downtrodden, capitulates to harsh climate. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. The man is unable to build a fire to save his life Climax The climax in this story happens when the man's fire fails.