To Build a Fire Essay

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As good a place as any to begin is with the story's concluding paragraph, where the style's very strengths appear most dramatically to be little more than flaws. The unnamed man who has repeatedly failed to ward off the Arctic cold at last slips into frozen sleep, watched over by a gradually bewildered dog:

Later the dog whined loudly. And still later it crept close to the man and caught the scent of death. This made the animal bristle and back away. A little longer it delayed, howling under the stars that leaped and danced and shone brightly in the cold sky. Then it turned and trotted up the trail in the direction of the camp it knew, where were the other food providers and fire providers.

These lines seem a bit abrupt and lend a halting rhythm to the story's "sense of an ending," but we cannot...

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This section contains 1,129 words
(approx. 3 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.