In Jack London's "To Build a Fire", how does the man's dog behave and what event does the dog's behavior foreshadow? 

Expert Answers
mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Jack London's short story, "To Build a Fire", the man's dog is afraid and foreshadows the man's death.  The dog is afraid because it must go ahead of the man to find any open water or thin ice.  It knows that the man is out in weather too cold to be on the trail, and that if it should fall through the ice, freezing to death is a distinct possibility.  Only its fear of the man's anger drives the dog onto the ice and up the river.  The dog is cautious, moving slowly on the ice, and very careful about where it puts its feet. When the dog falls through the ice, the man builds a fire to save the dog, rest, eat and then continue his journey to the camp.   Later, when the man falls through the ice, the dog waits for him to light the fire again. He stays away from the man, just out of reach, for something tells him the man is now dangerous to him as the man could kill him and use his body to ward off the cold. The wait for a fire is in vain as the man freezes to death, and the dog goes off in search of someone else who can provide the fire needed to live.

Read the study guide:
To Build a Fire

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question