The plot grows out of a conflict between the characterand natural forces. The nature, however doesn’t work against the man onpurpose. If he hadn’t been travelling out there, it would have been exactly thesame cold anyway. The manis warned about possible dangers, but he is also too pride and tooself-confident assuming he is stronger than the forces of nature.
You are watching: To build a fire rising action
The story is carefully structured around the building of several fires. The first one is a success. However, the dogcontinues to have its doubts about traveling on such a cold day, and it doesn"twant to leave the fire when the man gets up to keep walking.
Rising action begins when the man, despite all theprecautions that he took, gets his feet wet. He succeeds in building anotherfire, but his fingers are getting too cold to bend or feel anything. When hisnext attempt similarly fails, the man becomes panicky.
The advice of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek reoccursin the man’s head several times throughout the story. At first he just laughsat it, but as the plot unfolds he starts to realize that the man has spoken thetruth. So, “one must not be too sure of things”. The character manages to calmhis fears and tries over and over again, but all in vain.
The story comes to its climax when the man gets a wildidea. He decides to warm his hands by killing his dog and burying his handsinto its warm body. But after making a try, he realizes that he has no way ofkilling it with his hands being numb and senseless. Being really desperate theman starts running to the camp, but eventually gives up.
Then goes the falling action. The man sits down anddecides to “meet his death with dignity”.He lets himself to fall asleep. Before freezing to death he has the visionsof his friends finding his dead body. Then he sees the old-timer from SulphurCreek and admits “Youwere right, old hoss; you were right".
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Resolution. The dog sits for a while, waiting for theman to set a fire. Yearning for the fire it started whining loudly and thentrotted in the direction of the camp knowing it is the only way to survive.
In "To Build a Fire," Jack London uses thethird-person point of view narration. It allows London to create distance between the character and the reader and to cast judgment on his maincharacter’s actions. It helps to illustrate the theme of the story, that is a man’s arrogance in the natural world results in his untimely death. The outsidernarrator refers to the main character as “the man.” Later, in the story, thenarrator also refers to the man using the pronoun “he.” Thus, dispassionate andto some extent judgmental tone is achieved. The use of the third-person point of view allows the readerto see the man as London sees him – asan arrogant, foolish and naive man.
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