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To Build A Fire
Transcript of To Build A Fire
Plot Development and Analysis
To Build A Fire
Noah Silverstein & Dima Kamandanu
Old-timer from Sulphur creek tells the man to not go to the boys camp alone
The man ignored his warning and set off into the deathly cold
possibly because of the warning, he does not admit to the cold
not admitting to his mistake, he had to prove the Old-timer wrong
"The old-timer had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below. Well, here he was; he had had no accident; he was alone..."
The man slips to death in his sleep
A calm happy ending
The craziness is over, and the plot is through
"Then the man drowsed off into what seemed to him the most comfortable satisfying sleep he had ever known. The dog sat facing him and waiting."
The dog waited for a long time
Finally gives up and leaves the man behind
Leaving for the next person to care for him
"The brief day drew t a close in a long, slow twilight."
"But the man remained silent. Later, the dog whined loudly. And still later it crept close to the man and caught the scent of death...Then it turned and trotted up the train in the direction of the camp it knew, where were the other food-providers and fire-providers."
Increments of panic with foreshadowing
Leading to climax and keeping reader engaged
Developing with new plot elements
Repetition stresses the cold
"It certainly was cold."
Calm and "happy" ending, but unexpected to reader
Area for the reader to interpret mood, allowing for "happy closure"
Man hiking on the Yukon Trail
With his dog in the bitter cold (middle of nowhere)
Heading to meet boys at the camp
He sets out not admitting the cold to himself
"Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turns aside from the min Yukon trail and climbed the high earth- bank, where the dim and little-traveled trail led eastward through the flat timberland;"
"It [the dog] experienced a vague but menacing apprehension that subdued it and made it slink along at the man's heels..."
The man fell through the thin ice into the freezing water and put himself into a deadly situation
the sense of cold begins to sink in
The scared man got his dog to walk through the thin ice causing it to get wet too
both in deadly situations trying to survive
His hands were so numb that he could not eat his lunch
he builds a fire and smokes a pipe
a calm before the storm
Freezing, the man lit up a big fire, but it was under a tree so the snow fell onto him and the fire
Panic ensues trying to relight his fire and save his life
"He had felt the give under his feet feet and heard the crackle of a snow-hidden ice-skin. And to get his feet wet in such a temperature meant trouble and danger"
"it was his own fault or, rather, his mistake. He should not have built the fire under a spruce tree. He should have built it in the open. But it had been easier to pull the twigs from the brush and drop them directly into the fire. Now the tree under which he had done this carried a weight of snow on its boughs."
He resorts to desperate measures in the life or death situation
The man tried to rebuild the fire, but his hands were too numb
He was not able to pick up the matched
He tried to kill the dog for his "warm insides"
Just before death, he has a realization
He became aware of the cold
He knows his fate
The panic continues, but the end of the story is already known by all
"When all was ready, the man reached in his pocket for a second piece of birch-bark. He knew the bark was there, and, though he could not feel it with his fingers, he could hear it crisp rustling as he fumbled for it. Try as he would, he could not clutch hold of it."
The man began having flashbacks of the old-timer from Sulphur creek
He tries to run off the cold, constantly falling down
He gives up and imagines the boys finding his dead body
He accepts his inevitable fate
He expects his final moments and decides to be happy and not fight his death
"Well, he was bound to freeze anyway, hand he might as well take it decently. With this new-found peace of mind came the first glimmerings of drowsiness. A good idea, he thought, to sleep off to death."
"He did not belong with himself any more, for even then he was out of himself, standing with the boys looking at himself in the snow. It certainly was cold..."
"'You were right, old hoss; you were right,' the man mumbled to the old-timer of Sulphur Creek."