Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: London, England, Protagonist, Pets, Dog, Defoe, Literature, Reason

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/11

Carefully, London manages to establish a connection between his nameless protagonist, his dog and nature. By crafting his narrative's setting, London develops a storyline which is both familiar and eerie. Themes are also carefully organized in order to, apparently, convey an overall sense of both connected and disruption as narrative's protagonist struggles for survival, physical and spiritual. If anything, London's choice of whiteness as his not only a color of a dominant component, i.e. snow, in his narrative but also as emblematic of solitariness emphasizes a recurring, literary question of Man vs. Nature. The deployment of metaphorical devices – e.g. similes and extended imagery – of London's protagonist, his dog and nature all, moreover, establish – by gradual and consistent reference – an eternal question of human survival. Notably, London's protagonist, his dog and nature all are reminiscent of Robinson Crusoe's saga. Interestingly, in isolating his protagonist by an accident – like Crusoe – London taps into a very common literary device, i.e. intertextuality. By intertextuality is meant an author's text reference to another text – in full or partially – creating an overlap in both. For current purposes, intertextuality is investigated in London's text. More specifically, an investigation is conducted between London's "To Build a Fire" and Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. Specifically still, London's protagonist and Defoe's Crusoe are examined as regards survival strategies, revelation and final salvation.
In his journey to camp, London's protagonist is similar to Defoe's Crusoe in different ways. At start, London's protagonist is a material man who lacks spirituality, a man of reason, a man who "was not much of a thinker". His reasoning – like Crusoe's – is purely logical and matter-of-factedness. Only by different encounters and natural life's experiences is London's nameless man is converted later in his narrative. London employs a set of literary devices to drive his point home. Or, often, states his point directly. For example, in his allusion to his protagonist's down-to-earthness, London uses juxtaposition in order to contrast his protagonist's and his dog's perceptions: "Its own feeling was closer to the truth than the man’s judgment" (66). By contrasting his protagonist's and his dog's judgments and perception of reality London is not only making, apparently, an implicit reference to Defoe's Crusoe-dog relationship but is also establishing a man-animal connection which is to last until his finale, when different perceptions are brought to fore and man's folly is, again, revisited as he fails to survive by reason and his dog survives by instinct.
Probably, one most notable example of London's protagonist's survival strategies is his struggle to start a fire when his match pack has fallen. In his description of his protagonist's great effort to light up a fire using his match pack, London masterfully develops minor details and a step-by-step process which recalls again Crusoe's diligence and endurance. As stated in above quote, London's protagonist is one who has to come to realize – gradually – different facts, different assumptions of life which, upon recalling old man of Sulphur Creek, emphasizes London's ignorance – in spite of his matter-of-factedness – and his gradual conversion: "That showed one must not be too sure of things" (70). The struggle is, not, accordingly, a physical but, rather, a spiritual one by virtue of which Man is converted and, ultimately, delivered.
The final salvation of London's protagonist – and Defoe's Crusoe – is enacted by an instance of actual self-discovery, enlightenment and revelation. Although Defoe's Crusoe lives on, London's nameless man survives spiritually. Ingeniously, London's act of running seems to be an act of spiritual liberation. In spite of his protagonist's (physical) numbness, he is able, however, to run as he could not before. In fact, "[h]e seemed to be flying along above the surface and to have no connection with the earth" (77). As if boundless and preparing for his eternal journey, London's protagonist finally realizes – via sleepiness – death is not bad after all. Ironically, London's protagonist's dog manages to survive and, informed by instinct – vis-à-vis reason – pursues new masters.
Thus, London manages to employ intertextuality as an effective literary device in order to drive home a recurring question in literature: human folly. By investing in graphic details and metaphorical imagery, London invokes Defoe's Crusoe's struggle in isolation, his gradual conversion as he performs physical acts of endurance, and his final delivery and/or salvation. More broadly, London's protagonist is juxtaposed against his dog – both overshadowed by Nature – in order to, apparently, emphasize how rational and instinctive modes of perception lead to different results. If, confident in his reason and logic, London's protagonist progresses – only initially – steadily in a well calculated fashion and his dog seems helpless by following him, later in narrative situations are reversed. The dog – well aware of cold weather's dangers – appears to slip away from his master and proves confident – which London executes literarily by using an objective correlative feeling of warmness felt by dog and missed by his master – in his own ways.
In conclusion, London employs as set of literary devices in his narrative in order to emphasize man's folly. Tapping into intertextuality, London invokes a recurring literary image of a surviving outcast. Juxtaposing his protagonist and his dog, perceptions of each are brought to fore and emphasizes man's folly and false confidence in his own reason and perception.

Works Cited

London, Jack. "To Build a Fire." American English. United States Department of State, n.d. PDF file.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 11) Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).. Retrieved June 01, 2023, from
"Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).." WePapers, 11 Dec. 2020, Accessed 01 June 2023.
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WePapers. Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).. [Internet]. December 2020. [Accessed June 01, 2023]. Available from:
"Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).." WePapers, Dec 11, 2020. Accessed June 01, 2023.
WePapers. 2020. "Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved June 01, 2023. (
"Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).," Free Essay Examples -, 11-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Jun-2023].
Sample Essay On "He Worked Slowly And Carefully, Realizing His Danger" (London 71).. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 11, 2020. Accessed June 01, 2023.

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