Colin's Reviews > To Build a Fire

To Build a Fire by Jack London
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's review
Jan 24, 2008

liked it

I read this when it was 6 degrees outside. It inspired me to 'man-up' and brave the cold. I spent the entire next day outside doing housework and chores in the frigid air - probably not the reaction of most. While one might conclude from the tragic hero’s demise that the cold elements of winter are too dangerous to risk, realistically he was in negative 75 degree weather, something I can't comprehend, and in the wilderness far away from help. I will concede that in made me evaluate how it is best to think through actions and weigh the risk of disaster, especially when someone sagely advises otherwise beforehand. Knowing me I'll still risk it. If he would have been a little more observant before he build the fire under the tree he'd have made it easily. His overconfidence did get the best of him in the end as it has bitten me so many times in my short life. Too bad he couldn't have lived to learn from his folly! What concerns me though is that it was never clear why he wanted, or needed, to get to the town. Was the risk of death taken whimsically, or in order to carry out a task, or was he heroically coming to the aid of someone else? What kind of reward or motivation did he have for taking the risk in the first place?

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