The story begins with the man’s departure from the main Yukon Trail onto a little-traveled trail that will lead to his destination. This departure off the main trail symbolizes a transition and a risk. Previously, the man has traveled on the main trail and previously he has traveled with companions, the boys. The main trail symbolizes security and certainty, and the departure from this foreshadows the dangers the man will face. A trail is a man-made construction through nature. The relationship between man and nature is critical in this short story, and the concept of the trail implies the presence of other humans, as well as the rational thinking behind map-making and navigation. A trail allows man to survive in nature and to adjust the wilderness to his expectations and his needs. The main Yukon Trail symbolizes man’s ability to conquer and navigate through nature. The man leaves this trail, and the resources of other humans, behind.
The Main Yukon Trail Symbol Timeline in To Build a Fire
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Main Yukon Trail appears in To Build a Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
To Build A Fire