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who is the antagonist in the short story to build a fire? who is the antagonist...

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jezan | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 28, 2007 at 3:00 PM via web

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who is the antagonist in the short story to build a fire?


who is the antagonist and why is he called the antagonist in the  short story?

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skearney1960 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 28, 2007 at 10:20 PM (Answer #1)

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This story does not have many characters, so it will be easy to work through the problem by considering the definitions of your terms. An antagonist is someone who is opposition to the protagonist, often the main character or hero of the story.  A foil is a character who is used to contrast another character.  The foil and the antagonist.  Sometimes antagonists are not people in stories because the conflict is not between man and man, but between man and nature.  Think about the characters in "To Build a Fire" and identify the main character as the protagonist.  Then identify the "character" that is in opposition to the protagonist.  What element/character of the story provides the greatest conflict for the protagonist? 


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brendawm | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted September 29, 2007 at 3:10 AM (Answer #2)

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I don't know if it could necessarily qualify as an antagonist because it is not actually a character; however, the weather is definitely the enemy.  In terms of conflict in the story, it is absolutely man against nature. If you make a time line of the events in the story, it is almost as if the man is destined to die. In fact, I also believe that in some ways the man himself is both the protagonist and the antagonist, as he is his own worst enemy because his arrogance causes him to make stupid errors in judgement that ultimately cost him his life. I don't know if this helps you, but these are my thoughts and ideas on the topics.  Brenda

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