To Build a Fire Questions and Answers
by Jack London

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In Jack London's "To Build a Fire," how does the setting help create the mood of the story?

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In Jack London's "To Build a Fire," the cold, desolate setting of the story creates a mood of hopelessness and desperation that persist throughout the story. The story takes place in the Yukon along a "little-traveled trail" off the main trail. The main character in the story, a man traveling alone except for his dog, notes that while it is a clear, cloudless day, there is no sun in the sky. This is an unusual experience for most people, which contributes to the story's desolate mood.

Looking around him, the man sees nothing but snow in every direction, highlighting the mood of loneliness and isolation in the story. The man continues to hike through familiar, yet alien, terrain, noticing landmarks and avoiding hazards, such as water flowing under the ice. He notes that "to get his feet wet in such a temperature meant trouble and danger." The unpredictability of the setting contributes to the growing anxiety in the mood of the story, as the reader begins to realize just how far from...

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