To Build a Fire: Pages 7-8
Summary (pages 7-8)
The man stops to eat and his bare hands become numb almost immediately. He sits down and cannot eat at first because of the ice on his beard that has formed from the tobacco juice. He also thinks how he forgot to build a fire and senses that his feet are turning numb. This frightens him somewhat and stamps about and waves his arms to get warm. He then lights a fire. He eats his food and the dog comes to the fire for warmth.
After eating, the man smokes his pipe and sets off again. The dog is disappointed to leave the fire as it knows it is too cold to be out walking. There is no affection between the two and the only caresses the man has shown the dog have been the whiplash or the threat of it. Because of this, the dog does not have a concern for the man’s welfare.
As they walk, the man is caught out by a spring and the ice breaks. The man is soaked half way to his knees and knows he will be delayed now as he has to build a fire to dry off. He finds dry firewood and throws down some large pieces for a foundation and to protect the flame.
Analysis (pages 7-8)
The relationship between the man and the dog is touched upon for the first time and the lack of affection is seen to arise from the man’s maltreatment of it. It is possible to see that his arrogance extends to his relationship with the dog and this in turn epitomizes the man’s lack of understanding of the natural world. It is also reiterated how this arrogance has no justification as shortly after the explanation as to why the dog has no concern for the man’s welfare, the man is soaked when the ice breaks.