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"To Build a Fire" is a prime example of the literary movement of naturalism. Naturalism was an offshoot of Charles Darwin's and Herbert Spencer's theories on evolution. In his monumental 1859 work Origin of the Species, Darwin theorized that...

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The early nineteenth century was not a good time to be a female writer -- particularly if one was audacious enough to be a female novelist. Contemporary beliefs held that no one would be willing to read the work of a woman; the fantastic success...