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What is the author's central or main idea in "To Build a Fire"?  Please explain.

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jessica87 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2010 at 8:32 PM via web

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What is the author's central or main idea in "To Build a Fire"?


Please explain.

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted May 4, 2010 at 8:41 PM (Answer #1)

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The overall theme or message of “To Build a Fire” by Jack London deals with stubborn idealism.  During the time period in which the story is to have taken place men flocked to the Yukon in order to strike it rich and cash in on the gold that had been found there.  The main character in the story had been given advice that advised him not to travel to the Yukon because he was not prepared.  Traveling with his dog, the main character sets out to meet him friends at a camp however, he makes many mistakes along the way that prevent him from reaching the camp and attaining his final goal.  Therefore, the author is trying to tell his readers how important it is to be prepared and to listen to those who might know better; instead of believing too much in something that is completely unattainable.

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