Elements of Literature Fifth Course
LE0 11-10.5
To Build a Fire by Jack London
More About the Writer
Ashes to Ashes
“I would rather be ashes than dust!” Was this Jack London’s philosophy of life or an instruction for his funeral? Read London’s credo and passages from his letters at the Berkeley Digital Library. Then, decide for yourself what kind of fire Jack London hoped to build.
More from the Writer
Keep the Home Fires Burning
Like “To Build a Fire,” London’s story “The Law of Life” centers on the warmth of a campfire. But, are the themes of these stories really similar? As you read “The Law of Life,” consider the significance of the aging moose in the story.
Choices: Building Your Portfolio, page 510
Choices 1: Collecting Ideas for a Research Paper
If you are adjusting your writing to suit different audiences, you might enjoy seeing how considerations of audience influenced London’s writing. In an early version of “To Build a Fire” published in Youth’s Companion, the author told a very different tale with a very different outcome.
Choices 4: Survival Manual
London’s character didn’t heed the advice of the old-timer—and look where it landed him! Before you compile your survival manual, visit the Canadian Department of Renewable Resources for some expert advice about venturing into the Yukon Wilderness.
Choices 5: Sound Matters
If crossfades, acoustic space, discrete effects, and wallas are not part of your everyday vocabulary, tune in to the Radio Sound Effects site. Learn how and when to include sound effects that will enhance your production without distracting your audience.
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