Forgot your password?  

Introduction & Overview of To Build a Fire by Jack London

This Study Guide consists of approximately 67 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of To Build a Fire.
This section contains 255 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our To Build a Fire Study Guide

To Build a Fire Summary & Study Guide Description

To Build a Fire Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on To Build a Fire by Jack London.

Introduction

Jack London had already established himself as a popular writer when his story "To Build a Fire" appeared in the Century Magazine in 1908. This tale of an unnamed man's disastrous trek across the Yukon Territory near Alaska was well received at the time by readers and literary critics alike. While other works by London have since been faulted as overly sensational or hastily written, "To Build a Fire" is still regarded by many as an American classic. 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. Critics have praised London's story for its vivid evocation of the Klondike territory. In particular, they focus on the way in which London uses repetition and precise description to emphasize the brutal coldness and unforgiving landscape of the Northland, against which the inexperienced protagonist, accompanied only by a dog, struggles unsuccessfully to save himself from freezing to death after a series of mishaps. Involving such themes as fear, death, and the individual versus nature, "To Build a Fire" has been categorized as a naturalistic work of fiction in which London depicts human beings as subject to the laws of nature and controlled by their environment and their physical makeup. With its short, matter-of-fact sentences, "To Build a Fire" is representative of London's best work, which influenced such later writers as Ernest Hemingway.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 255 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our To Build a Fire Study Guide
Copyrights
To Build a Fire from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook