Carol's Reviews > The Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf by Jack London
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's review
Oct 11, 11

bookshelves: american-classic
Recommended to Carol by: Bill
I own a copy

I almost stopped reading this sea adventure because of the cruelty of the captain and his crew but I gathered courage and continued the journey. Luckily for me, I wasn't forced into this voyage as the hero of this novel was by the captain of a sealing vessel.

Wolf Larsen, the fierce and strong captain, is a man capable of surviving the rough sea life. He doesn't believe in the after life so he is not shackled by morality. Humphrey Van Weyden is a gentleman and an intellectual who is rescued by Wolf from a sinking ship. Wolf is self taught in literature and philosophy and is entertained by conversations with Hump. Wolf is a melancholic figure that sees life only as physical survival and of no value because life is plenteous. Humphrey sees every life as valuable because of its immortality.

The novel is a philosophical voyage as well. Wolf is portrayed as a superhuman figure who thinks it wise to think only of oneself and wrong to care for others because this goes against the survival instint. He mocks Van Weyden's beliefs in the afterlife when he witnesses him and others clinging to life as if there is no resurrection. Wolf views these thoughts as sentimental, based on illusion rather than the fact. Van Weyden argues that it is only the flesh that it is afraid, the spirit can triumph over the fears.

Sea Wolf began with Van Weyden returning on a ship from a visit with his friend, Charley Furuseth. This man spent his leisure time studying philosophy. Then, Van Weyden meets a man that is similar to Furuseth in his materialistic views, Wolf Larsen. Humphrey is forced to come to concrete philosophical conclusions apart from the heady intellectualism he shared with Furuseth. Van Weyden voyages from a life of bookish ideas to the reality of survival and
fearlessness before death.

London is not only a compelling adventure writer also a writer who explores the depths of man. I recommend his work.
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