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Course: BBL 3404 Analysing Novels and Short Stories

Instructor: PM Dr Rosli Talif
Name/Matric No.: Nur Shaliana Bt Saibon (185769)
Programme/Semester: B.A. English Literature/Semester 3 Date: 13/9/2016

Title of the story : Built a Fire by Jack London

Setting : The place setting is at Yukon in Alaska. Alaska itself gives an image to describe a
place full of snow. It indicates how the men get through a freezing cold weather until his
finger became numb and make us as readers felt it physically from the texts. The setting also
suits the title because it is not relevance to light a fire in a hot weather. The social setting
doesnt really show us a really specific belief. It is normal type of behaviour that usually can
be found in society. As for time setting, it is during Klondike Gold Rush when most of the
people search for a fortune.

Characterisation :

1. The man : He is a stubborn because he ignores advice from the old timer. He is the main
character in the story. He also a persistent type of person because he still do what he thinks
right for him even though its not.

2. The dog : It is husky type of dog that have a experience in that place. The man is just a
food and fire provider for him.

3. The old timer creek : The old timer is a really caring and wise person. This character
doesnt provide any conflict in the story. He just gives an advice to the man.
Plot summary:
This story is about a man with his husky that wanted to travels to the old claim. When the
man accidently stepped on thin ice and got his feet wet which later started freezing in
seconds. He cursed his bad luck and built a fire to dry his boots. He was getting firewood
from a spruce tree above the fire. The snow on the spruce tree fell and extinguished the fire
he was building under it. He tried to light another fire but it lit off by the snow. Thinking that
he doesnt have other choice, he decides to strangle the dog till it die and put his arm in the
body to keep warm. But he incapable to kill it and decide to let it free. At last he just lie down
and accept the fact that hes dying and the old timers advice keep playing in his head.

Point of view: Third person omniscient point of view. The narrator seems to know everything
thats going on in the story and it gives him rights to judge the character.

Symbols : The symbols in the story is fire. Fire is somehow representing life. How a fire
capable to help the old man survives he freezing weather. Fire is an element that really
important for the man to stay alive or else he will die.
Another symbols is hand. Without hand he cant built a fire and without hand he cant even
strangled the dog. He is literally hopeless without his hand.

Comment : To built a fire is a story that gives us a new realization. It is because it gives us a
lesson that even we think what we do is right and we really persistent about it doesnt mean
that we are right. We must be conscious about others opinion and our surroundings.