Why does Jack London go in so much depth about the setting?  

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of greatest significance is that the story takes place during the winter in the far north, where temperatures can fall to minus seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit and the sun does not rise for days. Into this setting walks the man, who is a chechaquo, or newcomer, to the region. His inexperience and lack of imagination do not allow him to prepare for the brutal cold.

Jack London describes the setting in great detail. From the well- below zero degrees weather to the freezing spittle of the man who is enduring the cold, the setting is the story. While a setting is important in a story, in Jack London's To Build A Fire, the setting is everything. The setting creates the suspense as the man is freezing to death. The setting is the element that keeps the reader interested in what will happen to the man. The setting is the place the man tries to build a fire. The fire is put out because of the setting.

To Build A Fire is interesting because the setting creates a conflict. The man is in conflict with the setting. The conflict is resolved by the setting. The man dies because of the setting. The story ends because of the setting. Again, the setting is everything in this story. The setting becomes a life or death situation.