The Wrath of Nature

Jeff Neukirch
Peter Ermey
February 10, 2013
The Wrath of Nature
Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” and Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” are both naturalistic short stories in terms of fighting the elements of nature. Both short stories communicate the consequences of not respecting the power nature has and the potential of taking life. In comparison, both writers prove that man is not in complete control of their own fate and free will is ineffective when dealing with the wrath of nature. All that tempt fate or have the displeasure of being a victim of fate can do, is suffer through what the element of nature brings upon them.
Crane’s short story “The Open Boat” is about the lives of four men forced together in a small dinghy and in order to survive they all must endure the struggle together. With the massive rage of the open sea, furious winds, and intense chill in the air, they find themselves working together for survival. Crane’s characters in this short story experience nature’s true lack of sympathy concerning their direct wellbeing. Crane essentially demonstrates to the reader that in their fight to survive one of the few things they have in common is their pride. However, when pride gets in the way, mistakes made can play a significant role in the outcome of life’s decisions.
London’s “To Build a Fire” the characters foolish pride gets in the way of his surviving the elements of the Yukon. The characters in both Crane and London’s short stories share a common theme in dealing with their own pride as well as nature’s fury. The focus of this story is not based solely on the characters survivability, instead he directs the reader to focus more on the powerful forces of nature. The most influential forces of nature proved to be temperatures ranging from fifty to eighty degrees below zero, overwhelming deep snow, and hidden ice of the Yukon.  
The fact remains in both stories that nature is not forgiving and challenges these men as they fight to...