He thinks about the man from Sulphur Creek who gave him advice about the cold; he scoffed at it at the time. If he had only had a trail-mate he would have been in no danger now. It was the time to lie snug in a hole in the snow and wait for a curtain of cloud to be drawn across the face of outer space whence this cold came. But no sensation was aroused in the hands. The temperature is seventy-five degrees below zero and the logger and his husky are traveling towards Henderson Creek, about ten miles away, where the logger's companions are located. This literary technique allows the reader to understand the dangers of the situation as it unfolds. He is less an individual and more a representative of all humanity, especially humanity up against nature.
He was a new-comer in the land, a chechaquo, and this was his first winter. He was feeding it with twigs the size of his finger. There was no mistake about it, it was cold. Here is Harry Monroe with the story. There were worse ways to die. The man's boots were covered with ice.
But the circulation of wet and freezing feet cannot be restored by running when it is seventy-five below. As he sits, he feels warm, but he realizes that actually more and more of his body is freezing. Have your coats been scattered around your house. It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! As for lunch, he pressed his hand against the protruding bundle under his jacket. As he so held it, he became aware of sensation in his hand. He was busy all the time they were passing through his mind, he made a new foundation for a fire, this time in the open; where no treacherous tree could blot it out.
But the dog knew; all its ancestry knew, and it had inherited the knowledge. No way that is not for me. Its major themes which will all be explained and explored in greater depth here are determinism over free will; the indifference of the environment; survival; absence of moral judgment; instinct over intellectualism; a fascination with processes; the emphasis of narrative over character; depiction of characters in the lower classes; and more realistic language befitting such characters and settings. His idea of it was that he had been making a fool of himself, running around like a chicken with its head cut off--such was the simile that occurred to him. Fifty degrees below zero was to him just precisely 50 degrees below zero. It knew the weather was too cold to travel. For a moment he sat and stared at the spot where the fire had been.
He was making four miles an hour, and he calculated that he would arrive at the forks at half-past twelve. He glanced down at first in order to assure himself that he was really standing up, for the absence of sensation in his feet left him unrelated to the earth. The dog watches his activities. It merely obeyed the mysterious prompting that arose from the deep crypts of its being. Then he could build another fire.
Also, he noted that the stinging which had first come to his toes when he sat down was already passing away. One reason that this is such a compelling and engrossing story is the vivid descriptions of the environment the nameless main character endures. Once, coming around a bend, he shied abruptly, like a startled horse, curved away from the place where he had been walking, and retreated several paces back along the trail. It was not concerned in the welfare of the man; it was for its own sake that it yearned back toward the fire. So he continued monotonously to chew tobacco and to increase the length of his amber beard. The lack of care between dog and man is further established: both are only focused on their own survival and well being. He puts on his mitten and beat his hand against his knee again.
This dark hair-line was the trail--the main trail--that led south five hundred miles to the Chilcoot Pass, Dyea, and salt water; and that led north seventy miles to Dawson, and still on to the north a thousand miles to Nulato, and finally to St. That there should be anything more to it than that was a thought that never entered his head. He released it, and it plunged wildly away, with tail between its legs, and still snarling. But the tremendous cold quickly drove the life out of his fingers. Then he feels pain, but still holds the matches. As he sat and regained his breath, he noted that he was feeling quite warm and comfortable. London sets an average, middle-aged logger in a deserted Yukon trail during a wintry season.
He did not put the mitten on, but, instead, struck the fingers a dozen sharp smashes against his leg. He was a bit frightened. They have the highest levels of education and volunteerism rates between the generations and are very committed to their jobs. David Wevill is not an easy poet to sum up. Campfires, although fun, have a serious process and must be treated as something serious.
They were covered with snow. He unbuttoned his jacket and shirt and drew forth his lunch. But it was all he could do, hold its body encircled in his arms and sit there. And at the same time there was another thought in his mind that said he would never get to the camp and the boys; that it was too many miles away, that the freezing had too great a start on him, and that he would soon be stiff and dead. With this new-found peace of mind came the first glimmerings of drowsiness.