“It was as though he heard his own sentence of Death”
The man in this story lacks common sense. He is intelligent and highly motivated, but he does not possess a certain understanding of life and nature. In the beginning of the story the narrator says, “The trouble with him was that he was without imagination.” The man does not think of the infinite number of possible events that could occur that he has not included in his simple journey.
All through the beginning of the man’s journey there are numerous warning signs to the danger he faced. The man, being a newcomer to the region, does not heed the advice of the old-timer in regard to travelling alone. He ignores the fact that the temperature could be lower than fifty degrees zero. He does not notice the behavior of his dog. There were plenty of hints for the man before he fell through the bit of ice and got wet. Even after that, all he does is curse for the fact that he will be late getting to camp. The thought of his own death does not emerge.
When the snow from the trees fall upon the fire, the man thinks of Death for the first time. Even after all the warnings and signs, it is not until this moment that Death becomes apparent to the man. He had been dead ever since that morning. Everything pointed to that fate, yet he was oblivious until this moment. After that he experiences the usual stages of denial. He runs around hopelessly trying to find some solution, and it is not until he can no longer move does he accept his fate.
The man is an example of man’s disconnection with nature. The folly that man with his ability to think can outmaneuver the harsh realities of the physical world. Nature plays no favorites with Death. Mankind, like the man in this story, forgets this and often thinks he can defy the laws of nature.