An Analysis on the Protagonist’s Tragedy from Man-Place Relation in To Build a Fire
Keywords:To Build a Fire; protagonist’s tragedy; man-place relation
As one of Jack London’s famous northern frontier novels, To Build a Fire is a story about an unnamed protagonist called “the man” who, in his adventure to cross the polar Yukon River Territory, freezes to death finally. Most studies about it analyzed the power of nature demonstrated in this story. However, in this confrontation between man and nature, there are no studies about the protagonist’s tragic ending, which plays an important role in dealing with the relation between man and nature. In this paper, in conjunction with Yi-Fu Tuan’s theory of man-place relation, the reason of the protagonist’s tragedy is explored from two aspects. One is the desire of the protagonist to escape away from the old place and leave for the new place, the other is the disharmonious relation between the protagonist and the new place. In the process of analyzing, the relationship among the protagonist, the old place (America) and the new place (Yukon River Territory) is revealed, which enlightens human that only the harmonious relation between man and place can achieve the long-term development of man and nature .
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