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             Tolstoy's "Death of Ivan Illich" and Jack London's "To Build a Fire" are two fictional stories that describe man's behavior when faced with the final act of life; the death.
             On the surface, the main characters in those two stories are quite different, as their death approaches however, they become more and more alike. Tolstoy's Ivan Illich is an educated man who lives his live obeiding by all the written and unwritten rules. He likes the status quo and his happiness comes from conforming to what is publicly thought of as the right way to live. He acts as a decent person because it makes him happy when others say he is a decent man. Even his decision to marry was based on following the rules rather then the love for one another. According to Tolstoy, "Ivan Illich's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible. He had been a member of the Court of Justice and died at the age of forty-five." The Yukon man, in London's "To Build a Fire" is a simple individual who finds himself in an unfamiliar territory. He is walking back to the camp after a trek in to the wilderness to examine the possibilities for logging. Unfamiliar with the area, the man is accompanied by a dog. By verbalizing the dog's instincts, Jack London demonstrates the man's lack of experience in Yukon. Instincts that tell the dog it is too cold to travel and learned behavior that make the dog wander why is his master not building a fire when is this cold.
             The Yukon man was warned about such escapades but he chose to ignore it. .
             At last, all that could go wrong went wrong, and though he carefully avoided stepping in one of the hot springs hidden under the thin layer of snow and ice he stepped in one and got wet. .
             Unlike Ivan Illich, the Yukon man goes from a self-confidant man with little regard for cold, to someone accepting his death in the matter of hours. Ivan Illich, on the other hand struggles with the deadly diseese for months.

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