Comparing Versions of "To Build a Fire," Part II

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SWBAT compare three versions of "To Build a Fire": the original, the revised (and more famous) version, and the film.

Big Idea

Looking at three versions of a story allows us to focus on the changes and decisions that each one represents.

Finishing the Film

30 minutes

Students came into class today, anxious to finish the film.  Some remarked that the movie made them "cold," which is a credit to the filmmaker, really.

Before I started the movie, I reminded the students to look for aspects of Naturalism and to compare the film and the version of the story that they read.


Discussion, Comparing the Two Versions and the Film

20 minutes

After watching the film and reading a version of the story, students were ready to discuss the similarities and differences among the pieces.  My main objective was for students to recognize that London's second version (and the film, since it matched that version) took a much harsher view of human nature and man's lack of respect for nature.  The addition of the dog in the second version underscores the idea that logic cannot trump instinct when faced with the harshness of the wild.

The discussion went well, and I felt better about the differentiation piece.  I do think you could do this lesson with everyone reading the simpler, 1902 version and watching the film.  However, I do think it was good for students to read the more sophisticated version; it functioned as an extension, even though I didn't design it that way.