In "To Build a Fire" by Jack London, what are the main events that lead up to the man's death?

Expert Answers
kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The premise of the story is that a man and a dog set out for their camp, attempting to get there before dark.  The man is ill-prepared for this trip and is not wearing enough warm clothing for the temperatures he is facing. He also does not bring along the supplies he needs in case of an emergency.  Also, he does not simply let the dog take the lead when he panics and figures out he is lost.  The dog could have taken him to the camp, as is evidenced by the dog trotting off towards camp after the man dies of hypothermia at the end of the story.  

Ultimately, the aforementioned things lead to his death.  Important things that happen to contribute to his death include getting his feet wet, taking off his gloves for too long, and building a fire underneath a snow-covered tree.  

timbrady eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would only add to the above that the main "event" in the story, although it is not really an "event" is the man's arrogant decision that he knows more than the oldtimer, who has the weight of experience in his corner and gave the man the information that would have saved him, and the man's continuing inability to read the signs that the dog gives him that what he is doing is not going to work.  The dog has a direct "contact" with and respect for nature, knows that he does not control it, and that his survival depends upon "cooperating" with it, not trying to dominate it.  All the events that are listed in the first response flow from this/these decision(s).

tee012 | Student

when the tempertaure keeps dropping and it gets to 75 below zero and then where he tries to start the fire and it goes out

kkmonster93 | Student

I believe that they differed in ways because tthe dog has fur and his breed is used to harsh cold and he knows how to take care of himself...the man a human's body can't take the cold and he wasn't very smart for going alone without another human or supplies and in return he died!