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In The Awakening and To Build a Fire the main characters, Edna and the Yukon Man, both meet their demise by courtesy of nature.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast In The Awakening and "To Build a Fire" the main characters, Edna and the Yukon Man, both meet their demise by courtesy of nature. In the case of Edna, she walks into the Gulf of Mexico where she drowns while the Yukon Man stoically accepts his fate in the cold unbearable wilderness and falls asleep never to wake up again. Both characters appear to share little in common. Edna is part of the upper class echelon of society struggling with how she views herself and is re-evaluating her life as a mother and wife. The Yukon Man is a working class explorer whose life we don't really know that much about. ...read more.

Middle

In the first chapter Mr. Pontellier leaves the house to gamble at Klein's and when asked when by Edna when he would return "He did not know; perhaps he would return early for the early dinner and perhaps he would not" (p.536). Edna surrounds herself with unorthodox company that heavily influences her. Madamoiselle Raisz , "the little musician" from New Orleans, who opens Edna's eyes into what is out there through music "from the Chopin into the quivering love-notes of Isolde's song and back again to the Impromptu with its soulful and poignant longing" (584). Adele Ratignolle is another female who influences Edna. She (Ratignolle) was a creole whose "freedom of expression was at first incomprehensible to her" and candid nature is a welcome relief to Edna. ...read more.

Conclusion

While his death is in one way humiliating it is in another slightly redeeming. The weather is a constant theme with the Yukon Man travelling in "fifty degrees below zero" and it stands as his main adversary in getting to where he needs to go. The weather elements are characterized by "sharp, explosive, crackle that started him" (p.1058). The Yukon Man gradually realizes the futility of his trip when he first falls into a water trap and then fails to get a proper fire lit. The latter poses a major problem in that he cannot get warm and get his blood circulation going. All the while this is happening "a big native husky" that had accompanied him becomes a symbol of frustration for the Yukon man who is near death while the husky is in relative comfort. ...read more.

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