The Sea-Wolf

Wolf Larsen’s Legacy 11th Grade

In the novel The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, Wolf Larsen’s spirit lives in Humphrey. Even though Wolf’s philosophy about life differs from both Humphrey’s and Maud’s, Humphrey’s interaction with Wolf impacts him to the extent that he takes on some of Wolf’s characteristics, thereby shielding Maud from the world’s cruelty that Wolf symbolized. On one hand, Humphrey’s exposure to Wolf shows him an alternative lifestyle and philosophy from the one to which he is accustomed, causing Humphrey to revert to Wolf’s way of life, whether unconsciously or consciously. In contrast, Maud exhibits the same characteristics of frailty and need for protection throughout the novel and remains unaffected by the savagery and cruelty of Wolf. Clearly, Wolf makes a stronger impact on Humphrey and his spirit continues by Humphrey’s imitation of him, as well as his role as Maud’s physical guardian.

By the end of the novel, Humphrey evolves from a privileged and helpless man to one who proves his strength and capabilities by easily taking over Wolf’s place as captain of the boat. The cruel environment Humphrey experiences on the boat causes him to alter his beliefs. By observing the reality of life and the need for strength, Humphrey’s actions parallel...

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