I think I read To Build A Fire for the first time in junior high. I loved it then. Maybe because I was young and unjaded. Back then this story was horrifying. To so badly need to do something as simple as build a fire and to not be able to do so, and then to have to pay the ultimate price for that?! Well, that was just so unfair and so horrifying! In junior high the moral that I took away from this short story was, people are so frail and fragile, and we are no match for Mother Nature.
Now I'm older and jaded, and the man in this story is no longer a sympathetic character for me. The man was an arrogant, self-satisfied idiot, and his stupid actions and stupid decisions caught up with him. Even the dog thought the man was an idiot, for heaven's sake! I do still think that people are so frail and fragile, and that we are no match for Mother Nature, but now the moral that I'm taking away from this story is, if you do stupid stuff, and it doesn't end well for you, well then really, what do you expect?