To Build a Fire/ the Open Boat Compare/contrast Essay
Autor: Nicolas • March 18, 2012 • Essay • 495 Words (2 Pages) • 6,746 Views
"Nature is detached, unemotional, and seemingly random in its life-and-death decisions." The literary movement called Naturalism is characterized by a certain pessimistic determinism- a belief that people have little or no control over their lives. Naturalism exemplifies well in these two short stores: "To Build a Fire" and "The Open Boat." Naturalism is shown in a pessimistic and antagonistic way in these stories. Both stories portray many similarities and differences in the field of Naturalism.
There are many similarities in the stories "To Build a Fire" and "The Open Boat" when relating to Naturalism. One similarity is that nature was the antagonist in both of the stories. In Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat", it tells of four men shipwreck and they're now stuck on the ocean in a ten foot dinghy. They cannot do anything about their situation as the seas had decided their fate of destroying the ship they were on and now they are stuck in a small boat riding the rough waves. In Jack London's "To Build a Fire", it shows also another individual who is stuck in the Yukon facing diverse snow conditions in which he cannot change his condition but rather has to try and endure the rough times that are facing him. Another similarity is that the stories' settings take place in extreme weather. The last similarity is the environment killed a character in both of the stories. Nature doesn't care who it takes.
There are also many differences in the stories "The Build a Fire" and "The Open Boat" when relating to Naturalism. One difference is that the environments in each story were very unalike from each other. Another difference is that in "To Build a Fire," the weakest character got killed while in "The Open Boat," the strongest character got killed by nature. The death of the oiler was unexpected while the death of the man in "To Build a Fire" was expected due to his lack of experience, and being weak. The last difference between the stories is that they show different aspects of conflicts relating to Naturalism. In "The Open Boat," there is a conflict among the men in the boat and the weather surrounding them, along with the conflict among themselves trying to work together to survive (man vs. self). In the story "To Build a Fire," the conflict is between the man, with his lack of instinct, and nature itself (man vs. nature).
Even though both stories have differences and similarities between each other, they all relate to the key concept of Naturalism. These stories show how nature will go on no matter what happens to you. Nature doesn't care who it takes, no matter how strong and weak you are. The matter of luck one person has just might determine their fate when conflicting with nature. Although nature gives us many negative outcomes, it seems to repay us back