What is the cause and effect in this story?

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englishteacher72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"To Build A Fire" is a short story by Jack London.  It is a story about a man traveling on the Yukon Trail on an extremely cold and dangerous day.  The man is ignorant of the dangers of the Yukon Trail, and of nature itself.  He continues to walk along with his dog until he becomes soaked and he stops to try to build a fire.  Unfortunately, he builds the fire beneath a snow-laden tree.  The snow falls on top of the fire and extinguishes it.  The man eventually dies, but before he does, he remembers that a wise old man once told him that no one should travel alone on this land when it is so cold.  I would say that the cause and effect relationship is the young man's arrogance.  The effect is his death.  The irony of the story is that after he is dead, the dog is easily able to find his way safely back to the camp.