To Build A Fire, Jack London

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"To Build a Fire" is a short story by American author Jack London published 1908. The story is an oft-cited example of the naturalist movement that portrays the conflict of man vs. nature. It also reflects what London learned in the Yukon Territory. (From Wikipedia)
Curriculet Details
13 Questions
19 Annotations
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This free digital curriculum contains images, annotations and interactive videos that support reading comprehension. Over the course of the text, students will answer Common Core aligned questions addressing grade-level appropriate literary terms and concepts. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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To Build A Fire, Jack London

The Yukon Trail is a 33-mile long passage through the Coast Mountains from Bennett, British Columbia, in the north to Dyea, Alaska, to the south. The trail is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park in the U.S. and a National Historic Site of Canada in British Columbia, and it acquired fame in the late 1800s during the Klondike gold rush.  (This annotation contains an image)
During winter in Alaska, the sun barely peeks up over the horizon, and most of the day is dark.  
Notice how mountainous the Yukon is. This territory would be difficult for travelers. (This annotation contains an image)
The Yukon Territory is the setting for several of Jack London's stories. (This annotation contains an image)
Here is an old image of miners crossing Chilcoot Pass. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
Using your own words, please describe what we learn about the character from the highlighted paragraph. 
What is the difference between a thing and the significance of a thing? 
Jack London uses personification in this sentence when he describes the man's nose. He calls his nose "eager" and and aggressive, which are human characteristics. We all know that noses don't have feelings or personalities. This kind of writing is called figurative language. 
This is a pretty typical looking husky. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
Please select which kind of fork the man is likely headed for, and explain how you know by using evidence from the text.A fork used for eatingA fork in the roadA fork of rivers or creeks 
This is an old logging and trucking term used to define a large round rock or outcropping of rocks. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
This "ice-muzzle" is made of 
An ariel view of the beautiful Yukon River (This annotation contains an image)
This is a good time to consider the title of the story, and ponder what it might refer to... 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2
In your own words, please explain what instinct is. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2
At this point, we can safely say that one of the themes of this story is 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
Please list THREE of the things the main character does to stay warm. 
Notice that Jack London provides foreshadowing via the dog, whose instinct speaks to him in a way the man's instinct does not. The video below will tell you a bit more about foreshadowing. (This annotation contains a video)
We know enough from reading that this could be a potentially fatal accident. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3
Please explain how this character exemplifies hubris. 
This is a great example of hubris. Hubris means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates an overestimation of one's own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, and it is often a tragic flaw suffered by characters in literature. You can read more about it below.  (This annotation contains a link)
The man in fur parka and moccasins below is Percy DeWolfe, a mail-carrier. This photo was taken in Alaska in 1938. Jack London's character's moccasins may have looked like these. (This annotation contains an image)
Are you surprised by the casual tone of this line, given the gravity of its sentiment? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4
This line contains a 
The dog in the story acts as a foil to the main character. In literature, a foil is a character that shows qualities that are in contrast with the qualities of another character with the objective to highlight the traits of the other character.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5
Please explain how the dog is a character foil for the main character. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
How does the dog feel? How do you know? Please use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4
Which of the following is an antonym of the word poignant? 
Mercury is the Greek god of speed, athletes, and thieves. His winged sandals allowed him to fly through the air.  (This annotation contains an image)
This is the only dialogue spoken in the whole story! 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5
What, in your opinion, was the turning point in the story, that led to the character's eventual death? Explain. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3
How are the man and the dog similar? How are they different?