I think the point of the story is that the man's death in the wilderness is pointless—no one is affected, in any significant way. Of course, there are not many characters in the story—other than the man, there is the dog, who is smarter about the cold than the man, and the old timer, whose advice the man ignores, and "the boys" at the camp he is walking to. To me, nature, or the stupendous cold, also is a kind of character, an implacable foe which the man cannot resist. London writes that the the problem with the man was that "he could not imagine," that he was "quick with the things of life...but not their meanings." The man cannot grasp the significance of the cold, beyond the fact that it is cold, nor can he understand his fate until it is too late. As he freezes in the snow, he imagines being with the boys, on the trail, and coming across his frozen body. But the story gives no indication that he thinks "the boys" would be moved by his death. The character most affected is the dog, who, realizing that the man is dead, runs back to the camp, to the "other fire providers."