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Jack London specialized in stories about the wilderness. His running theme involved the raw majesty and power of the elements. Naturalism was London's mantra and this story is a perfect example of this. In "To Build a Fire" the setting is in the Yukon. Unlike the man, the dog has naturalism built into his DNA. The dog and nature are in sync: the man and nature are not.
In "To Build a Fire," London repeatedly shows how the man does not have free will and how nature has already mapped out his fate. Indeed, both times the man has an accident, London states "it happened," as if "it" were an inevitability of nature and that the man had played no role in "it." The most important feature of this deterministic philosophy is in the amorality and lack of responsibility attached to an individual's actions