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Mood in "To Build a Fire"

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Sonam Saxena

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Mood in "To Build a Fire"

"T Build a Fire"
Who was Jack London?
What is Mood?
Examples of Mood in Story
Jack London was one of the most successful American writers in the early 20th century, despite his lack of formal education.
He lead a very lonely life which may have contributed to the mood of loneliness in his stories.
He took part in the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada
Many of Jack London's stories have a Klondike setting.
Mood in
"The man was a newcomer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter." (and his last)
Mood is the atmosphere of a story, or how the reader feels when reading the story.
What is "To Build a Fire" About?
Tragic tale that describes the perilous journey of an unnamed man who decides to travel alone through the bitter temperatures of the Yukon
The temperature decreases so drastically that the man's life depends upon his ability to build a fire for warmth.
He disregards an old-timer's advice that "no man should travel alone in the Klondike after fifty degrees below zero"
Falls victim to the hostile environment
Jack London creates a lonely atmosphere through vivid imagery.
"there was nobody to talk to, so he continued monotonously to chew tobacco"
" a dozen inches of snow covered the marks of the last runners. In a month no man had come up or down that silent creek"
"Perhaps the old-timer on Sulpher Creek was right. If only he had a trail-mate he would have been in no danger now. The trail-mate could have built the fire. Well, it was up to him to build the fire over again."
The "Larger Picture"
Jack London not only uses the mood of loneliness in "To Build a Fire", but in many of his other stories as well.
describes the journey of a lone soldier that is scouting for his army and is ironically killed by the same man whose life he decided to spare.
"he was appalled by his own loneliness. There were no signs of life. No smoke curled from the chimney, not a barnyard fowl clucked and strutted
Literary Criticism
Earle Labor agrees that "mood and atmosphere, which is conveyed through repetitive imagery, is London's key to the impact of his stories"
Earle Labor praises Jack London's ability to set a mood through imagery.
Why is Mood Used in Literature?
Mood makes the characters in the story more relatable to the reader
The story is more intriguing to the reader if they can feel the same emotions that the characters in the story.
Overall, mood is a crucial factor to good literature.
Real World Connection
Jack London does a phenomenal job of using vivid imagery to create a lonely atmosphere in the story "To Build a Fire" and many other works.
Full transcript