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To Build a Fire: Theme
In the story "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, there are three principal themes. They are respecting nature, and considering results of actions. The main theme, or universal truth, is heeding warnings. The themes are shown through the character and his actions. The main character in the story had an attitude that prevented him from heeding internal and external warnings. He did not respect nature's power, and therefore he paid with his life.
His attitude was arrogant and careless. The man had no imagination and only understood facts. He knew it was very cold and his body was numb, but he failed to realize the danger. A newcomer with no experience, he thought he was invincible. Neither the "absence of sun from the sky," nor "the tremendous cold" made any effect on him. For example, the temperature was less than -50 degrees. He did not care about how much colder it was. To him, it was just a number. He did not think of his "frailty as a creature of temperature." When the "old-timer at Sulphur Creek" warned him not to travel alone in such cold, the man laughed at him. The old-timer had experience and knowledge, yet the man called him "womanish." Even when the man knew he was about to die, he thought, "freezing was not so bad as people thought," and "When he got back to the States he could tell folks what real cold was." These quotes show that the man did not take his situation seriously. Instead of dying with dignity, he thought about how foolish he look...