What is the author's tone toward the man in "To Build a Fire"?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nature and the narrator of To Build a Fire have one thing in common--they are both unsympathetic and uncaring about the existence and mortality of the man in the story.  To Build a Fire is considered a short story that uses the elements of the genre, naturalism, where man is ill-equipped to survive in a hostile environment like the Klondike.  Nature doesn’t care what happens to the man because nature is a force that man cannot control or tame.  Nature is objective; it gives equal opportunity to anyone who dares to adventure into it.  When the man spits tobacco juice in the air and it crackles and breaks before it hits the ground, he should have seen it as a sign to not go on his journey alone.  His ignorance and lack of basic instincts leads to his destruction, and nature becomes a trap for the man when he must navigate frozen streams, wet snow, and the horrible cold to survive.  Because nature is impartial in its judgement of man and does not discriminate on who or what survives, the best way to describe the tone of To Build a Fire would be indifference.  

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To Build a Fire

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