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The Sea-Wolf is a novel written in Germany in 1904 by American author Jack London. Of it, Ambrose Bierce wrote: "the great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen... the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime." But he also noted that "The love element, with its absurd suppressions, and impossible proprieties, is awful." An immediate bestseller, the first printing of forty thousand copies was sold out before publication.
Like The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf tells the story of a soft, domesticated lad, an intellectual named Humphrey van Weyden, forced to become tough and self-reliant by exposure to cruelty and brutality. Onboard a San Francisco ferry, which collides with a ship in the fog and sinks, he is picked up ("rescued" is not the right word) by Wolf Larsen. Larsen is the captain of the seal-hunting schooner Ghost. Brutal and cynical, yet also highly intelligent and intellectual (though highly biased in his opinions as he was self-taught), he rules over his ship and terrorizes the crew with the aid of his exceptionally great physical strength. Van Weyden adequately describes him as an individualist, a hedonist, and a materialist. As Larsen does not believe in the immortality of the soul he finds no meaning in his life and has come to despise all human life and deny its value. Being interested in someone capable of intellectual disputes he somewhat takes care of "Hump" while forcing him to become a cabin boy, do menial work, and learn to fight to protect himself from a brutal crew. Later, another castaway is picked up, Maud Brewster, a famous woman poet, with whom Hump soon falls in love. After an attempt to escape from the Ghost, Maud and Hump are cast away on "Endeavor Island." In inhospitable conditions they are forced to learn to provide for themselves beyond every human civilization.
One of the themes of the story is to show the eventual triumph of good over evil.
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