So much of the game will be gain, Though the gold of the dice has been lost. They were tired and weak, and their faces had the drawn expression of patience which comes of hardship long endured. They were heavily burdened with blanket packs which were strapped to their shoulders. Head- straps, passing across the forehead, helped support these packs.
During his journey, the man gets his feet wet as he falls through the ice into the water of a hot spring London The word existentialist, as well as the subject of existentialism itself, evades definition. For the sake of brevity, perhaps a short, simple definition would be best; according to the American Heritage Dictionary 3rd ed.
At the conclusion of the story we finally see the man come to the realization, in a round about way, that it was best to meet his fate with dignity, thus giving meaning to an otherwise meaningless and cruel death.
So it is no accident that at the heart of the story lies an existentialist theme. London places his solitary human character in the perilous setting of the wilderness of the Yukon, which is enough to begin to illustrate his theme, but when London combines this unforgiving environment with the deadly cold of the Yukon winter, he creates a setting which is the epitome of the hostile, existential environment.
The remoteness of the Yukon wilderness, as well as the absence of a human travel companion for the man, serve to illustrate the existentialist idea that man is alone in the universe.
By not naming the character, London has placed him at an even greater distance from the reader within his deadly setting, thus isolating him all the more in a bleak and hostile universe. Imagery is an important element which London uses to illustrate and emphasize his theme.
Indeed, London does rely heavily on imagery to set the mood of the story, and in this way he draws a picture of the merciless environment his character must endure. London also uses irony to illustrate and stress his existential theme.
The man gets a further dose of the capricious and impassive nature of the universe when, after painstakingly starting a fire, the life-sustaining fire is ironically snuffed out by falling snow just as he is about to begin thawing out his freezing feet.
To preserve the existential theme of man being alone in an uncaring cosmos, the reader must not be confused by the presence of the dog as a traveling companion to the man; the reader must instead see the dog for what it really is—a further extension of the apathetic and uncaring environment.
The dog is not a sentient being as man himself is and cannot therefore be looked upon as being a kindred spirit who shares the bitter existence of the lone, lost soul who is the protagonist. With his classic style, Jack London has created an exciting and unforgettably tragic tale which illustrates a modern philosophic theme.
London illustrates and emphasizes this theme in three ways: Master Craftsman of the Short Story. Utah State U P, An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Existentialism and Modern Literature.
U of Minnesota P, Jack London's mother, Flora Wellman, was the fifth and youngest child of Pennsylvania Canal builder Marshall Wellman and his first wife, Eleanor Garrett Jones. Marshall Wellman was descended from Thomas Wellman, an early Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Flora left Ohio and moved to the Pacific coast when her father remarried after her mother died. Jack London’s short story, “To Build a Fire,” is the tragic tale of a man who decides to travel alone through the hostile environment of the Yukon in sub-freeing temperatures and falls victim to the unrelenting and unforgiving power of nature.
London uses the phrase "love of life" with the definition of the will to survive, and the appreciation and love for life.
"The Love of Life" is a brief, yet remarkable story concerning two men who sought out to the frigid, arctic Yukon in search of some gold/5(5).
Love of Life & Other Stories (Published by Macmillan, ) [ Go to London's Writings] Contents. Love of Life - [Curriculum Materials available] ; The Story of Keesh; A Day's Lodging; Negore, The Coward. as Reflected in his Works by Murray Lundberg. Jack London - Berkeley Digital Library.
Jack London State Historic Park. Jack London was a prolific writer; over the period from until his death in , he wrote 50 books and over 1, articles. A collection of eight short stories from American author, journalist, and social activist Jack London.
Written during his 'Klondike' period, the title story 'Love of Life' follows the trek of a prospector across the Canadian tundra. - Brown A collection of eight short stories from American author /5.