How does "To Build a Fire" by Jack London reflect the philosophy of Transcendentalism?
In this story, nature is much more like an antagonist than anything else, and the protagonist's experience with nature seem to impress upon him "man's frailty in general"; he must guard himself against the extreme cold temperature, and he is not inspired to think on "the conjectural field of immortality and man's place in the universe."
In short, this story does not reflect transcendentalist philosophy. As the man travels, he jumps back from a spot where underground springs could bubble out, causing the ice to thin and creating "traps" where a person could step into three inches of water or fall into three feet of it. He "shied in [...] panic" from these spots. To characterize nature as full of traps goes against transcendentalist philosophy.
For the man to get his feet wet could be deadly due to the cold. Soon, he does break through one of these spots, and he has to stop and build a fire to dry his feet and clothes and shoes so as not to freeze. When this fire begins to work on the snow resting on the branches of the tree above, causing it to fall and douse the flames in an instant, the man feels as if "he had just heard his own sentence of death."
The more time that passes, the more the man becomes alienated from his own body and from the natural environment. He can no longer feel his extremities and must check with his eyes to even be sure that he is touching something or standing upright because he can no longer feel. Rather than putting the man in greater touch with himself, as transcendentalists suppose nature to do, nature has the opposite effect in this story. He seemed "to have no connection with the earth."
In the end, the cold—nature—kills the man. He had tried to rely on himself rather than listening to others' claims about their own experiences, another key transcendentalist philosophy, and his own ideas led him down the path to death.