What is the role of women in The Sea-Wolf?

The role of women in the book can be seen in the character Maud. She softens the harsh masculinity that had characterized the story up until the time of her arrival. She and Humphrey fall in love, giving her a significant role in his life presumably long after the book's conclusion.

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The important female character in this story is Maud Brewster, who is rescued by Larsen after the steamer that she was on sank. Larsen, however, is far from a nice guy, and when Van Weyden realizes that Larsen is attracted to her, he also realizes that he will need to...

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The important female character in this story is Maud Brewster, who is rescued by Larsen after the steamer that she was on sank. Larsen, however, is far from a nice guy, and when Van Weyden realizes that Larsen is attracted to her, he also realizes that he will need to protect her. This doesn't stop Larsen from attempting to rape her, until dissuaded by the onset of one of his famous headaches.

Having also been "rescued" by Larsen, only to be forced into the role of cabin boy, Van Weyden is all too aware of Larsen's violent tendencies. Maud's arrival brings about a lessening of the all-pervasive masculine ambiance on the boat. It also provides the catalyst for Van Weyden's escape, when he and Maud make a break for it on a small boat and head for Japan, winding up instead on an island, which the two christen Endeavor Island. Although Larsen reappears when his ship, the Ghost, runs aground on the island, he is desperately ill by this time, and no longer a threat to either Van Weyden or Maud.

I would argue that the ultimate role of women in this book is providing the sense of hope and reawakening of love which took place in Humphrey. Van Weyden, himself a kidnapping victim of Wolf Larsen, found purpose and a will to escape once Maud arrived.

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