To Build a Fire Essay

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Repetition establishes a compelling pattern in London's Arctic for reasons that are neither simple nor straightforward. Most obviously, however, its effect is entropic, reducing the man to the purely physical by depriving him initially of a will, then of desires, and at last of life itself. The process of repetition, moreover, again first appears at a verbal level—and notably with the word most often repeated. "Cold" occurs in the first half of this short story more than twenty-five times, with an effect that is altogether predictable. For as the narrative's focus on the physically immediate contributes to a paralyzing "tyranny of things," so the repetition of a thermal absence gradually seems to lower the textual temperature. Or rather, it is the emphasis on intense cold—no more, after all, than molecular inactivity—that exposes an irreducible corporeality to the very air itself.

The "tyranny...

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This section contains 2,095 words
(approx. 6 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.
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