What role did prejudice play in The Cold Within?

QuestionsWhat role did prejudice play in The Cold Within?
Soubhagya Panda asked 7 years ago

Discuss the role played by prejudices in the poem ‘The cold within’ by James Patrick Kinney

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3 Answers
Staff answered 7 years ago

James Patrick Kinney’s poem ‘The Cold Within’ is all about discrimination based on prejudices and its unpleasant consequences. The six persons who gathered around the fire in that chill winter night possessed a log of wood each. But all of them rejected to share their logs to keep the fire burning. Five of them were prejudiced against one another upon petty things like colour, race, religion, social class etc. while the last one was an opportunist.

The white man was prejudiced against the black one and the black man found it his chance to take revenge against the white for all the insults. The poor man was prejudiced that the rich are idle and he should not spend his log to help such men. On the other hand, the rich had a prejudice that the poor were lazy and shiftless and he should keep what he had earned from those fellows. One man found that another one did not share same religious faith as him, so he should not share his wood with that man. The last one would only give something in return of something given to him.

Eventually they were seen frozen to death each holding on grimly to a log of wood. And this was due to their prejudiced mind and selfishness even in the time of need. So prejudice plays the role of a destroyer here. The poem is a simple yet powerful reminder that if we fail to get over our prejudices in the time of need, the very existence of mankind is at stake.

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Daljit Singh Sihra answered 6 years ago

PREJUDICE always has a negative effect on people, and can have a negative impact on the society as a whole.. Although the human race has continued to evolve, prejudice is still prevalent in today’s world. cold within is a poem written by an anonymous author who tells us the story of death caused by prejudice through racial discrimination.
The six people trapped in cold and bleak winter night each possessed a log of wood. But all of them rejected to put their log into use to keep the fire burning. The DYING FIRE was a silent appeal to the group to help themselves by helping each other. But five of them were prejudiced against each other over issues like race, colour….. The fifth person was an opportunist…


The first person failed to put her log to use as she saw that one of the person around the fire was a black…. If she had put her log to use, it would have also warmed the black person. Her mind was clogged with the belief of racial discrimination and would not help the black person in amy possible way even if it led to her downfall.
The BLACK MAN was also no less……. He was a victim of racism. He saw in his stick a chance to spite the white and not to save himself….. he was over ruled with anger and rather would let the group’s fire die than to help the white. His thoughts were filled with revenge about the suppression and the type of treatment that was done to him and was only thinking to take revenge against all odds,,,, even though it would lead to his downfall.

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Parth Sharma answered 2 years ago

The prejudice held by the characters of the poem led to their death. The white women refused to give her wood as it would warm the black man, the black man saw the wood only as a chance to spite the white. The rich person and the poor person were prejudiced against each other whereas the second man was a bigot. Their mind didn’t allow them to transcend such petty boundaries for survival. Instead they stupidly clung to these prejudices until they died because of the cold within.

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