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<p>JACK LONDON</p> <p>The Law of LifeTo Build a Fire</p> <p>JACK LONDON Alejandra Rodrguez Villamil Carmen Maria Tbar Plaza BiographyWriting styleThe Law of LifeTo Build A FireConclusionQuestions </p> <p>GENERAL OVERVIEW </p> <p>Jack London was born under the name of John Griffith Chaney in 1876. He was an American author, journalist and social activist. He was one of the first fiction writers to obtain a large fortune from his fiction. He was a passionate advocate of socialism and the rights of workers. Many of his works deal with these topics, such as his novel The Iron Heel, his non-ficition expos The People of the Abyss and The War of the Classes.BIOGRAPHYLondons mother, Flora Wellman, was the youngest child in her family, and was a descendant of Thomas Wellman, a Puritan who settled in the Masssachusetts Bay Colony. She was a music teacher and spiritualist.</p> <p>His father, William Chaney, was an astrologer. He did not take responsibility for his child, and Flora turned the baby to an ex-slave, Virginia Prentiss, after giving birth. This woman remained a major maternal figure throughout Londons life. BIOGRAPHYIn 1889, he began working from 12 to 18 hours a day at Hickmotts Cannery. Since he was seeking a way out, he borrowed money from Virginia Prentiss and bought a sloop from an oyster pirate, French Frank, and became one.After many experiences in the sea, he returned to Oakland and attented Oakland High School, where he contributted with some articles for the High Schools magazine. His first published work was Typhoon off the Coast of Japan, which is an account of his sailing experiences.BIOGRAPHYHe started college in 1896, although he was forced to leave due to financial circumstances. He never graduated. He continued to study and and spent time at Heinolds saloon, where he was introduced to the sailors and adventurers who would influence his writing.In 1897, he went to join the Klondike Gold Rush, which was the setting for some of his most successful stories. His struggles there inspired Londons short stroy To Build a Fire.BIOGRAPHYHis view of his writing: a ticket out of poverty. It was business. His first marriage was with Elizabeth Maddern in 1900. After a while he got divorced, and he married Charmian Kittredge.In 1905, London purchased a ranch in Glen Ellen on the Eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain, California, where he later on died, in 1916.BIOGRAPHYLondon wrote from a socialist point of view. In his essay How I Became a Socialist, his views were influenced by his experience with people at the bottom of the social pit. Naturalism It focuses on reality and science, setting aside the more pessimistic opinions od realism and instead looking putting his eyes on biological and social causes explaining behaviour. DarwinismThe strongest is the one who survives. It clearly influences some of his writings, like The Law of Life. JACK LONDON AS A WRITER His work The Call of the Wild: unvarnished descriptions of the reality.</p> <p>The use of a dog: it is consistent with the naturalist philosophy. </p> <p>The appeal of naturalistic tales is often escape: it normally involves difficult situations where an individual can be tested.Symbolism: London uses this device, and it makes his descriptions clearer. Snow vs fire is often seen in his writings.JACK LONDON AS A WRITER This story was first printed in McClures Magazine (1901), and was included in the collection The Children of the Frost.</p> <p>Brief summary: the lasts moments of an Indian that is about to die. It describes his lasts thoughts, talks, and his final death.</p> <p>Main idea: the natural process of death. Every person has to die at some point. </p> <p>THE LAW OF LIFELaw of life: death is something that everyone has to go through, and it is okay because it is natural.</p> <p>It is well. I am as a last years leaf, clinging lightly to the stem. The first breath that blows, and I fall. My voice is become like an old womans. My eyes no longer show me the way of my feet, and my feet are heavy, and I am tired. It is well (p. 1053, lines 44-47)</p> <p>THE LAW OF LIFEHumanity and fear of death: although it is a natural process, it is not easy to accept emotionally.</p> <p>Why should he cling to life? He asked, and dropped the blazing stick into the snow (p.1057, last paragraph)</p> <p>Again, he saw the last stand of the old bull moose, and Koskoosh dropped his head wearly upon his knees. What did it matter after all? Was it not the law of life? (p.1057, last paragraph)</p> <p>THE LAW OF LIFETask to be completed: there is a reason why we are here. </p> <p>A maiden was a good creature to look upon(), full-breasted and strong, with spring to her step and light in her eyes. But her task was yet before her(p.1054, lines 26-28)</p> <p>And ever she grew fairer and yet fairer to look upon, till some hunter, able no longer to withhold himself, took her to his lodge to cook and toil for him and to become the mother of his children. And with the coming of her offspring, her looks left her().Her task was done(p.1054, lines30-36)</p> <p>THE LAW OF LIFEShort story, published in 1908 in The Century Magazine. First example of naturalism*Naturalism: Deterministic environment. Looking for instinct to survival. Summary: To Build a Fire is an adventure story of a mans attempt to travel across ten miles of Yukon wilderness in temperatures dropping to seventy-five degrees below zero. Main idea: The conflict of survival between human beings and nature. West = Nature East = Man. Instinct to survive in wildernessPurpose: In danger is when truth appears, nostalgia for the West and criticism of practical knowledge and people from the East. Use of imagery and symbolism: fire, hands, snow, the wolf-dog. Omniscient narrator. </p> <p>TO BUILD A FIRE</p> <p>The man: No name. Deterministic environment is more important than his free will. He is based on intellectuality instead of instinct East spiritThe trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances. Fifty degrees below zero meant eighty-odd degrees of frost (pag 1057, 3rd paragraph, last line)</p> <p>The dog: Instictive understanding of the cold West spiritThe old-timer: From Sulphur Creek who warned him against travelling alone in the Yukon with temperatures lower than fifty degrees. Wisdom.The boys: Examples of lower class naturalist characters. CHARACTERSDETERMINISM AND INDIFERENCE OF NATURE High up in the tree one bough capsized its load of snow. This fell on the boughs beneath, capsizing them. This process continued, spreading out and involving the whole tree. It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! Where it had burned was a mantle of fresh and disordered snow. The man was shocked. It was as though he had just heard his own sentence of death(pag 1063, 2nd paragraph, line 10-14)Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold and gray(pag 1057, 1st paragraph, line 1)MAIN THEMES FIRE VS SNOWFire: 2 possibles interpretations1) FIRE = LIFE There was the fire, snapping and crackling and promising life with every dancing flame (Pag 1063, 1st paragraph, line 1-The fire was a success. He was safe. (Pag 1062, 4th paragraph, line 6)</p> <p>2) FIRE = Humanity control over nature. CivilizationHe worked slowly and carefully, keenly aware of his danger. Gradually, as the flame grew stronger, he increased the size of the twigs with which he fed it. He knew there must be no failure. When it is seventy-five below zero, a man must not fail in his first attempt to build a firethat is, if his feet are wet.(pag 1062, 2nd paragraph, lines 1-7)</p> <p>SNOW= DEATH But the circulation of wet and freezing feet cannot be restored by running when it is seventy-five below. No matter how fast he runs, the wet feet will freeze the harder. (pag 1062, 2nd paragraph, lines 7-10)</p> <p>He was losing his battle with the frost (pag 1067, line 3)</p> <p>Logic = THE MAN = THE EAST He knew, BUT by the spirit thermometer at Sixty Mile he knew they had been registered at fifty below and at fifty-five (Pag 1059, 1st paragraph, last line)</p> <p>This was Henderson Creek, and he knew he was ten miles from the forks. He looked at his watch. It was ten o'clock. He was making four miles an hour, and he calculated that he would arrive at the forks at half-past twelve. He decided to celebrate that event by eating his lunch there (Pag 1059, 2nd paragraph, lines 3-6)</p> <p>This man did not know cold. Possibly all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of real cold, of cold one hundred and seven degrees below freezing-point (Pag 1061, 2nd paragraph, lines 3-6)</p> <p>INSTINCT VS LOGIC </p> <p>INSTINCT = THE DOG = THE WESTAt the man's heels trotted a dog, a big native husky, the proper wolf-dog, gray-coated and without any visible or temperamental difference from its brother, the wild wolf. The animal was depressed by the tremendous cold. It knew that it was no time for travelling. Its instinct told it a truer tale than was told to the man by the man's judgment (pag 1058, 3rd paragraph, lines 1-5)The dog did not know anything about thermometers. Possibly in its brain there was no sharp consciousness of a condition of very cold such as was in the man's brain. But the brute had its instinct(pag 1058, 3rd paragraph, lines 9-12)The dog had learned fire, and it wanted fire, or else to burrow under the snow and cuddle its warmth away from the air (pag 1058, 3rd paragraph, last line)But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew, and it had inherited the knowledge (pag 1061, 2nd paragraph, lines 6-7)</p> <p>Pride, arrogance and youth is embodied by the man. He was a newcomer in the land, achechaquo, and this was his first winter. The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances (Pag 1057, 3rd paragraph, 4-6 lines)Wisdom and experience is embodied by the old-timer.He remembered the advice of the old-timer on Sulphur Creek, and smiled. The old-timer had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below (Pag 1062, 3rd paragraph, 6-9 lines)</p> <p>PRIDE, ARROGANCE AND YOUTH VS WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE Jack London was a very profilic author writing both fiction and non-fiction. These two main works are an example of his naturalistic orientation towards life in which he emphasizes the idea of the conflict between nature and human beings highlighting the necessity to affront dangers in life to really get to know the truth and also being aware of death as something natural in our lives. CONCLUSION The narrator of To Build a Fire makes sure to say, "there was no keen intimacy between the dog and the man". How does this comment play out in the story? How would you characterize the man's relationship with the dog?Even today, stories of wilderness survival are extremely popular. Why do you think this is? What is it about wilderness survival that keeps audiences coming back for more?Why do you think that writers from this time thought about death so much?</p> <p>QUESTIONS </p>