“To Build a Fire” is a short story that has been written by Jack London. In the story, under a freezing temperature of seventy five degrees below zero, the main character decides to travel toward the camp, where his friends are. From the very beginning, at Sulfur Creek, a local does not recommend that the protagonist attend to travel alone in such cold weather and alerts the brave guy how dangerous it could be. The main character does not heed old-timer’s advice and starts his nine hour walk without a traveling partner other than dog. At first, he underestimates the cold and seriousness of the weather circumstances. He is aware of the cold and does not worry about it until later in the story. His wolf-dog companion frightened of the weather, and it seems to sense something dangerous ahead: “The animal knew that this was no time for travelling. Its own feeling was closer to the truth than the man’s judgment.” The journey is complicated with the route across hotter springs underneath a layer of thin ice. The man knows about this hazard and forces dog to go forward. He tells himself not to worry about his numb face or frostbitten cheeks, but in reality, he simply is reassuring himself that there is no reason to worry. On the way, he takes a little break for lunch. He plans to eat supper with his friends at the camp. The man’s fingers are numb, and he can barely hold a biscuit. For the first time the man realizes that he has reason to worry about the cold. He decides to build a fire for warmth. The fire helps to restore his confidence, and he takes “his comfortable time over a smoke.” As soon as he continues his trip, his face and body are freezing again. Pretty soon accidentally he steps into a hidden spring and wets his legs. This bad luck delays his journey because the man has to build another fire to dry out his feet and footwear. Suddenly a tree above the fire drops snow down to the man’s fire. He remembers the old man’s advice at Sulphur Creek to have a partner, which would be really helpful. Immediately he tries to build a fire again, but he fails due to frostbitten fingers. In panic he runs away and his hopes of reaching camp begin to fade. The man falls several times, finally realizing that he is going to die. He accepts his death peacefully.
As a central idea the author shows the power of nature and that human must respect it. He illustrates the theme of man versus nature through the man’s dangerous hike to meet his friends in a warm camp. Survival in the freezing wilderness of Yukon landscape is not an easy task, but the man is way too confident to travel alone with his lack of experience. He pays for his mistake with his life.