TO BUILD A FIRE CommonLit Answers 2024 [Free Access]

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TO BUILD A FIRE CommonLit Answers key

Discussion Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. What is more integral to survival: instinct or imagination? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: Imagination can be useful, but it is no match for common sense, knowledge, and experience when one is dealing with nature. If I were the man I would not only deal with nature’s power I would use my imagination too.

Q.2. Is this story a tale of survival or of the power of nature? Explain your answer.
Ans: The story is considered a tale of survival because it focuses on the man and the dog’s struggle to survive in a harsh winter environment. Throughout the story, we see how both characters approach survival differently. The dog relies on its instincts and natural abilities to navigate through the cold and find food, while the man relies on his rationality and imagination to plan his actions.
The contrast between these two approaches highlights different ideologies for surviving in challenging circumstances. The dog represents a more primal, instinctual way of living, while the man represents a more calculated and strategic approach. As the story progresses, we see that these differing mindsets lead to different outcomes for each character.

Q.3. In the context of this story, who’s in control—man or nature? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: The man was advised about walking alone in such bad weather before embarking on the trek, and despite his instincts, he chooses to ignore all the indications and his conscience and follow his ego. “Fifty degrees below zero stood for a bite of frost that hurt and that must be guarded against by the use of mittens, ear-flaps, warm moccasins, and thick socks. (p.2)” That was the condition of the weather and the mountains at that time and this should have served as a warning that the temperature could cause hypothermia, the ice was dangerous, and that he should seek alternative transportation. Another instance is when the man is almost buried in snow “It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! (p. 6)” By this time, the man made fire under a tree which was covered with snow on its twigs, and was confident enough in his place. But little did he know that nature was not in his favor as when he stayed there, a sudden avalanche almost buried him alive.


Assessment Questions & Answers

Following are our answers based on the questions provided:

Q.1. Which of the following best describes a central theme of the text?
Ans: In the struggle of man against nature, nature always wins.

Q.2. Which quotation from the text best highlights the man’s ignorance to the potential dangers of nature?
Ans: “The man’s red beard and mustache were likewise frosted, but more solidly, the deposit taking the form of ice and increasing with every warm, moist breath he exhaled.” (Paragraph 7)

Q.3. The author’s descriptions of the cold weather suggest that —
Ans: The cold should never be underestimated.

Q.4. Which of the following quotations develops the fire as a symbol of survival?
Ans: “There was the fire, snapping and crackling and promising life with every dancing flame.” (Paragraph 21)

Q.5. How does the narrator’s point of view develop the short story’s tone?
Ans: The story is told through first-person narration, and through this point of view the story’s tone follows the man’s moods as he feels them.

Q.6. How does the conclusion of the story contribute to its overall meaning? Consider the fates of both the man and the dog in your answer.
Ans: The conclusion of a story often plays a crucial role in shaping its overall meaning. In the case of this question, without knowing the specific story being referred to, it is difficult to provide a detailed analysis. However, in general, the conclusion can contribute to the overall meaning by highlighting the consequences of the characters’ actions or decisions.
Considering the fates of both the man and the dog can provide insights into the story’s themes and messages. If the man and the dog both meet tragic ends, it could suggest a theme of the harshness of life or the inevitability of death. On the other hand, if they both find a positive resolution, it could convey themes of resilience, redemption, or the rewards of perseverance.


You can find answer keys for other grade 9 topics below:



=> ON TRAGEDY CommonLit



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In CommonLit, “TO BUILD A FIRE” is one of the students’ favorite articles authored by Jack London for grade 9 students.

In this short story, the author talks about a man’s struggle to survive the extreme climate in the Yukon during the winter.


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