Part 2 After you have read the original version of “To Build a Fire,” answer the following questions: 1.What is the setting of the story? It was on the Yukon Territory on a very cold day. 2.What is the central conflict of the story? What is the source of the struggle? The real conflict is Tom versus Hypothermia, but does to the lack of experience he has trouble. 3.What happens to Tom Vincent at the end of the story? What does he learn? He learns pride is really a man’s worst enemy, and he dies.
Part 3 After reading the last three paragraphs of the second version of the story, answer the following questions: 1.What happens to the central character at the end of the second version? He builds a fire and limps off to safety.
2.Which one of these endings do you think more clearly meets the conventions of naturalism? Be sure to consider the concept of determinism as you list your reasons. I think that the version where he dies does, simply because it is survival of the fittest, and if he were to win that would be showing the wrong idea, prideful people get cut down, they do not succeed you must be humble to prosper.
Part 4 For homework, write an essay addressing the Focus Question: How does “To Build a Fire” illustrate the elements of naturalistic literature? As you write, consider the story as a whole, the conventions of naturalism, and the philosophies that influenced Jack London. As I see it this novel is a piece of naturalistic literature because it shows man’s pride, his struggle to prove it and how he plans to survive. It breaks humanity down to a basic level, male dominance and basic survival instinct. Nothing is more natural than a man and his dog in the wilderness fighting to live. The outcome is also naturalistic because it shows how man’s pride can get him cut down; in his case he lost his life, that’s why I think this book shows naturalism.
Courtney from Study Moose
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