Man vs. Nature in "To Build a Fire" Analytical Essay by Nicky

Man vs. Nature in "To Build a Fire"
A look at mankind's relationship with nature in Jack London's short story, "To Build a Fire".
# 146789 | 1,067 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Jan 17, 2011 in Literature (American)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper examines Jack London's "To Build a Fire" and how he portrays mankind in perspective to the brutal force of nature. The paper discusses the message of this story, that while people may think they are lords over their environment, nature is a more powerful force.

From the Paper:

"The vast arctic wilderness demonstrates London's point perfectly. Robert Spiller claims that London is a "storyteller extraordinary to William Randolph Hearst" (Spiller 1037). Spiller also notes that London is from the camp of naturalistic writers that "demand of science that human life be reconsidered as the manifestation of natural laws" (1037). London proves this with "To Build a Fire" because the character in this story comes face to face with natural laws that kill him. Sam Baskett claims that London makes a comment on life, which is "horror" (Baskett 227). This horror is played out in great detail in the story. London emphasizes the insignificance of man in light of nature by placing the character in a situation where he is small in comparison to the Arctic expanse in which he finds himself. The fact that the man realizes the severity of his situation only reinforces his plight."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baskett, Sam. "Jack London." Modern American Literature. Curley, Dorothy, ed. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. 1979.
  • Jack London. "To Build a Fire." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. New York; D. C. Heath and Company. 1990.
  • Abraham Rothberg. The Call of the Wild: Introduction. New York: Bantam Classics. 1981.
  • Spiller, Robert, et al. Literary History of the United States. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc. 1946.
  • Widdicombe, Jill. "An Overview of 'To Build a Fire.'" Exploring Short Stories. 1998. GALE Resource Database. Site Accessed March 29, 2009. <>

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Man vs. Nature in "To Build a Fire" (2011, January 17) Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Man vs. Nature in "To Build a Fire"" 17 January 2011. Web. 26 March. 2023. <>