To Build a Fire Historical Context

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Late Nineteenth-, Early Twentieth-Century America

Although Jack London's "To Build a Fire" was first published in 1908, the story was inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush, which began in 1897. America's focus during the early years of the twentieth century was much the same as it had been during the closing years of the nineteenth century.

The country had recently undergone significant expansion across the western plains and along the Pacific coast. In 1898 America expanded offshore as well, with the annexation of Hawaii and—as a result of the Spanish-American War—Guam, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico.

The late nineteenth century also saw an influx of immigrants into the United States and, with it, the opening of Ellis Island in 1891 as a processing station for the new Immigration Bureau. Immigrants became an important part of the country's industrialized economy, which produced not only the textiles of earlier years...

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This section contains 611 words
(approx. 2 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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