The protagonist is the unnamed man. London uses the generic term "the man" to place emphasis on nature as more of a character. The man is pretty much a flat character. He symbolises the arrogance and weakness of humans when they do not heed nature's warnings. I suppose in this case London might be referring to white man in particular for the natives around this land would not make such foolish mistakes, "He was a newcomer! in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter."