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February 18, 2007

Don't Go Anywhere Without Your Imagination

London, ''To Build a Fire'' -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

"The trouble with him is that he was without imagination" (London).

From this sentence in the story I knew that he was not going to make it and I felt bad for him. In some stories the characters grow and change for the better which saves them...but this sentence was so matter of fact and his flaw is something fairly unchagable that you knew he was bound to die. Imagination is just not something you all the sudden possess while walking through the -75 degree, snow-covered Tukon trail. He began to be a little creative when he desperately tried to survive at the end of the story when trying to build a fire, but it was too late. That may contribute to why I didn't get really upset when he died...yes it was sad, but a part of me was just relieved that he wasn't going to suffer any more. This is similar to the other stories that we've been reading as I pointed out on Jenna's blog when she brought the theme of death to my attention.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 18, 2007 1:15 PM


I think it's interesting that you felt bad for the man in the beginning of the story (when you found out he had no imagination), but when he was dying you did not really get upset. I say this because I felt exactly the same way. I think along with the man's ignorance, the man's namelessnes may have also contributed to our lack of sentiment during his dying hours.

Posted by: EllenEinsporn at February 18, 2007 6:52 PM

I wasn't really sure how to feel about the main character when I read this sentence, to be honest. On the one hand, it seems like a tremendously horrible thing to be missing, to me and probably anyone in this class. If you like reading and writing you probably have an overflow of imagination, where this man has something of a drought. On the other, I have friends who "never read" or "just don't understand how you can make something like that up." People who seem to function without imagination. I recognize it, but I don't understand it. As a writer, this man probably wouldn't understand how a person would want to get through life without an imagination, and this line had a ring of foreboding to me as well. With all the other little hints the author drops, it seems almost like he's putting this man out of his misery more than killing him. I mean, there is no specific mention of hopes for the future(save getting to camp) or memories of the past. It's hard to be really sad for a man with no past and no future.

Posted by: HallieGeary at February 18, 2007 9:55 PM

Ellen, that is a good point...it is strange that I was more upset by his lack of imagination than by his death. But, I supposed I just feel that a life like his would feel so incomplete anyway, that perhaps it was better the way it ended up. Hallie, you're right, not having an imagination is, well, hard to imagine. Hmmm, wow, that is a weird realization.

Thanks for the comments!

Posted by: Lorin at February 19, 2007 2:02 AM

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