To Build a Fire Essay

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Widdicombe is a freelance editor of college textbooks who lives in Alaska. In the essay below, she examines the mysterious effect of the merciless cold in "To Build a Fire" and in everyday Alaskan life.

The third paragraph of Jack London's "To Build a Fire" offers a concise assessment of the personality and motivation of the story's unnamed central character as he embarks across the vast and snowy winter landscape of the Klondike:

But all this—the mysterious, far-reaching hair-line trail, the absence of sun from the sky, the tremendous cold, and the strangeness and weirdness of it all— made no impression on the man. It was not because he was long used to it. He was a new-comer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter. The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in...

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This section contains 1,490 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the To Build a Fire Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
To Build a Fire from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.