In the story "To Build a Fire," what advice from an old-timer does the man choose to ignore?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "old-timer" in the story gives the man a very important piece of advice that he chooses to ignore.  According to the old-timer on Sulphur creek, "No man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below." This was for safety's sake.  When conditions are that cold a man can die very quickly should anything happen.  Traveling with a partner can save your life.

At first the man actually scoffs at the advice "Those old-timers were rather womanish, some of them, he thought. All a man had to do was to keep his head, and he was all right. Any man who was a man could travel alone." But after the snow falls on his fire and puts it out he realizes the geezer was right: "Perhaps the old-timer on Sulphur Creek was right. If he had only had a trail-mate he would have been in no danger now."

So there's your answer.  The man ignores the old-dude's advice to never travel alone when it was so cold out.

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To Build a Fire

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