The exciting adventure novel The Sea-Wolf by Jack London tells of an intellectual named Humphrey van Weyden who is picked up at sea by a seal-hunting ship, the Ghost , after the ferry he is on sinks in San Francisco Bay. The captain of the ship, Wolf Larsen, refuses to...
The exciting adventure novel The Sea-Wolf by Jack London tells of an intellectual named Humphrey van Weyden who is picked up at sea by a seal-hunting ship, the Ghost, after the ferry he is on sinks in San Francisco Bay. The captain of the ship, Wolf Larsen, refuses to drop van Weyden ashore, and instead forces him to become part of his ship's crew. Van Weyden has to learn to toughen up and survive despite the arduous work and the animosity of the rest of the crew. During this time, Larsen and van Weyden have numerous discussions on philosophy, ethics, evolution, and other topics. Later, a woman, Maud Brewster, is rescued by the Ghost, and van Weyden and Larsen vie for her attention. Van Weyden and Maud escape to an island, and Larsen follows them there, where he finally dies.
The two main characters in The Sea-Wolf are Humphrey van Weyden and Wolf Larsen, and their viewpoints on how life should be lived differ greatly.
Van Weyden believes that humans have eternal souls and that life should always be lived with honor and goodness. During their debates, van Weyden attempts to convince Larsen of this but is unsuccessful. At the end, when Larson is incapacitated, instead of letting him die, van Weyden and Maud take care of him, affirming that despite the violence and cruelty he has witnessed aboard the Ghost, van Weyden has not changed his viewpoint about how life should be lived.
In contrast to van Weyden, Wolf Larsen is cruel, vindictive, bullying, and amoral. He uses his great physical strength, intellectual strength, and the strength of his will to force people into obedience. For him, life should be lived as a wild adventure, and the strong should take advantage of and overcome the weak. He does not believe in the immortality of the soul, so he sees life as a physical struggle for survival and dominance.