“To Build a Fire” by Jack London


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Essay #: 051389
Total text length is 6,168 characters (approximately 4.3 pages).

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The beginning:
“To Build a Fire” by Jack London
     Sometimes the most interesting writing is about places and situations that we can only imagine and may never actually see in person. It is easy to write about, say, the Empire State Building or the Golden Gate Bridge. But Jack London takes us into the Yukon which can only fuel our imagination. “There was no sun. There was no hint of sun….The Yukon lay a mile wide and hidden under three feet of ice” (London 2). Just these few descriptive words can make one shiver. That continues to be the influence of London’s writing, almost a hundred years after his death. His stories and his descriptions linger on well into the 21st Century.
     Has anyone else ever written about cold so bitter than when one spits,...
The end:
.....who were caught making up “reality.” Oprah got fooled by such a writer. And more recently, there was this couple, supposedly Holocaust survivors, with a best-selling story of how they met. They made it up. Jack London’s story here, “To Build A Fire” doesn’t read like it was made up. Jack London suffered in the cold, and he probably had a dog alongside. But, he lived to writer about it all. And it reads like the truth. It reads like he has captured our imagination where we can read and we do not need a National Geographic website or the cable networks to make us feel we really ARE in that icy Yukon wilderness.
London, Jack: “To Build a Fire”
     First published in The Century Magazine, v.76, August, 1908