Rresentation of Realism and Naturalism in “To Build a Fire”

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Realism describes essential cultural changes. Realism can be on aspect of realist art movement to show things in native or original form. Realism was begun to stimulate people so that they can know the reality of the actual world. On the other hand, naturalism literature represented as a type of extreme realism. It highlights the roles of family in a person life. It also exhibits the social values in their raw forms and describes the environmental condition which has a great impact on the character building of a person. In “To Build a Fire”, naturalism seems to be a simple fact that is unchangeable. Nature is shown to be powerful and rigorous.

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The presentation of realism and naturalism in ” To Build a Fire” shows us the conflict between man and nature. Knowledge is the information and facts that man relies upon to approach a situation. According to London “To Build a Fire”, “Its instinct told it a truer tale than was told to the man by the man’s judgment.” (p. 1114) This shows that it can cloud a man’s instinctive judgement and makes him think himself to be powerful. Instinct is a natural observation, presence at the moment, relation with nature to get answers. It is to bow to nature and listen to it, and depicts the struggle of man against nature. The man tries to fight with nature along with lack of food and other important necessities. Moreover, throughout the story, the man possesses great mental strength and remains quiet through the aching pains of his limbs freezing.

According to London, “The man did not know cold, possibly all the generations of his ancestry had been ignorant of cold, of the real cold, of cold one hundred and seven degrees below freezing- point” ( p 1117). This elaborates that the man has no idea of how to handle like those types of temperatures. On the other side, nature test his mental and physical abilities such as the numb of his face, hands, and feet which made traveling situation very difficult. In addition, the man intended to keep in touch with reality by finding some ways to keeps him warm. Ultimately, the heat started to fade which caused the man to experience forms of sorrow and fear. This is basically related to realism because of the real sentiment and emotion of how he intentionally planned to make it home and even mentally preparing for death.

Facing rough weather circumstances have led the man to return to human instincts through having some thoughts of killing his dog to stay warm by using its fur. Therefore, naturalism part from realism because of the way humans react to extreme circumstance Confusing characterization and connection support the work and London’s intent in a way that only a focus on the natural that can accomplish when describing the events of a story that highlights the struggle of man versus nature. The conflict between the man and nature was not the only part that describes the naturalism. The man and the dog is another main part of this story that brings us to think about naturalism, which makes him not being able to function human anymore. Realism in this story shows us a man’s most innate emotions and instincts throughout a natural situation. As people, it is our own determinism which inspires us to perform our level best even in extreme opposite condition. Our knowledge is the tool of our survival. it equips us with the techniques which help in our survival. we can change adversities in our favor if we have skills.

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Rresentation of Realism and Naturalism in "To Build a Fire". (2020, Apr 14). Retrieved January 29, 2023 , from

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