Was "To Build a Fire" influenced by social developments in the United States?
Jack London set "To Build a Fire" in the times around the Klondike Gold Rush, when hundreds of individuals journeyed to the inhospitable North looking for their fortunes. London, having lived through some of those times and in some of those places, wrote the story partially as an indictment of the individualistic push to leave civilization for material wealth. The United States was still in the midst of its Industrial Boom, and living in a city rather than out alone on a farm was considered a proper goal in life. London's protagonist , by contrast, believes that he can survive...
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