To Build a Fire

why do you think London continues to emphasize the coldness, and how the man had never felt such cold before?

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The man was bound for an old (gold) claim on the left fork of Henderson Creek (Yukon). The man is a "newcomer" to this territory. Still his attitude is a little too "cocky". He treats his journey as a sort of competition with nature. In the early stages of the trip he smirks at his little mistakes and does not heed the warnings of the cold. The man reflects on what the old-timer had advised him but thinks that he can quickly overcome the man's advice rather than taking it to heart. He understands that it is cold but lacks the imagination to understand the consequences of -70 degrees.