The Yukon, the Klondike Gold Rush, Dawson’s Creek, all in the era of 1896. Jack London sets the setting of cold winter months, in the Yukon, of a young man traveling solo. Within the short story, there are supporting details that show the relationship between man and nature. He travels alone in the lands on the fridging cold temperatures of the Yukon along with the companion of a dog. When the man attempts to use a few survival ways, he begins to run into troubles with the power of nature itself. Nature was greater than man in his way of building a fire to warm himself, punishing him for disobeying the old timers law, and by just ignoring the fact that he was warned about the law but chose to disobey it. The young man decides to travel alone in a hostile environment and realizes that the power of nature is greater than man himself.
The man makes a decision that he should build a fire to provide warmth for himself as he stumbles into troubles with nature on his way to a mining camp. He decides to build a fire underneath a tree along the Yukon pathway to the mining camp. The man pulled the branches from the tree and the little branches would drop into the fire, which would keep the warmth up. Every time he would pull a branch from the tree he would cause a slight imperceptible agitation to the tree which the freight of snow on the branches all came down onto the nicely built fire. Nature overpowered man when it came to using his survival skills to stay alive. He needed the fire to keep warm, which would later help him keep trudging through the Yukon and make it to the mining camp. In this case, if the man would have thought of a smarter place to build the fire, man might have had the chance to overpower nature. Instead the man decides to build it under the tree.
In this story, there was a law that the man remembered that stated no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below. He was aware of this law but instead he went ignoring the law even though he knew what might be the consequences. He continued on like there was nothing holding him back except for the fact that nature was not on his side. Nature in fact seemed like it was against him for disobeying the law and disregarding that he didn’t show much respect for nature. The story supports the fact that nature is against the man and continues punishing him every step of the way along the Yukon. The man rather thought that the old timers were more womanish than he thought he was. He had believed that if you kept your goal in your mind and didn’t lose thought, he would be able to get to the mining camp all by himself. His mind was set that any man who was a real, true man, could make it across the harsh climate of the Yukon. The actions he shows are supporting evidence that the man does not respect the powers of the natural world. His mind is set that he can make it across the Yukon because he believes that he can do it, except for the fact in the end it didn’t end in his favour.
The man in this story starts a battle he cannot win. The odds are not in his best favor as the story goes on and with every . It almost seems as if nature is punishing him for disobeying the old timers warning about the law as he continues his adventure throughout the Yukon. He is first punished with the coldness of the Yukon, which then turns into numbness of his fingers and outer extremities. Frostbite soon takes over his body and begins affecting his body and ways of doing skills to survive. He falls into the water and wets his moccasins which then makes his feet even more cold, causing his own body to freeze. He is unable to start and keep a fire burning, as he makes a fire under a tree and the tree’s branches freight burns out the fire. He soon is unable to feel any part of his body and everything begins to slowly feel warm and that is when nature overpowered man and he did not win the battle. Nature in this case had overpowered man in that relationship.
Throughout this story, nature seemed to outsmart man in numerous ways in which the man’s survival skills didn’t work out the way he wanted. In the end, nature had overpowered man by interrupting his survival skills, punishing him for disobeying the law that the old timer had warned him of and lastly, starting a battle he knew he could not possibly win. The battle against nature that simply no man could have a chance of winning against unless smarter than nature. The lesson learned that if you choose to disobey a law told by an old timer, and travel alone in the frigid cold weather of Yukon, the odds of you overpowering nature is harder than most think.