The short story begins with the rather bitter description of the cold and of the enclosing surroundings that the man will have to face in order to survive. “The Yukon lay a mile wide and hidden under three feet of ice….North and South, as far as his eye could see, it was unbroken white” (0:55): Described as a wretched excess, this clearly points to the man’s observation that the cold has surrounded him and the piling on of images is starting to occur in his mind. The images that will make him cringe over the decision to travel out in such frigid weather. His main reason for traveling out is for the apparent “Gold Rush” and to think he would find gold is like finding a needle in a haystack. At this point in the short story the man begins to think about what the old man said about the cold and still sort of denying that he was wrong.
The man’s nonchalant attitude to the temperature is significant to his lack of hereditary instincts. It was cold, but colder than the man had formerly thought about and had felt comfortable taking in. The narrator says, “This man did not know cold. Possibly all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of real cold, of cold one hundred and seven degrees below freezing point. But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew and it had inherited the knowledge” (14:26): The quote that was just reinstated is another characteristic where heredity will determine his own character. However, his canine