Jack London Short Fiction Analysis
Jack London’s fame as a writer came about largely through his ability to interpret realistically humans’ struggle in a hostile environment. Early in his career, London realized that he had no talent for invention and that in his writing he would have to be an interpreter of the things that are rather than a creator of the things that might be. Accordingly, he turned to the Canadian Northland, the locale where he had gained experience, for his settings and characters. Later on he would move his setting to the primitive South Seas, after his travels had also made him familiar with that region. By turning to harsh, frontier environment for his setting and themes, London soon came to be a strong voice heard over the genteel tradition of nineteenth century parlor-fiction writers. His stories became like the men and women about whom he wrote—bold, violent, sometimes primitive. London was able to give his stories greater depth by using his extraordinary powers of narrative and language, and by infusing them with a remarkable sense of irony.
“To Build a Fire”
“To Build a Fire” has often been called London’s masterpiece. It is a story which contrasts the intelligence of human beings with the intuition of the animal and suggests that humans alone cannot successfully face the harsh realities of nature. The story begins at dawn as a man and his dog walk along a trail which eventually could lead them, thirty-two miles away, to a...
(The entire section is 1506 words.)
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