Document Type

Sophomore Award Winner

Award Date

Fall 2013

Course Name

Literary Explorations I


Margaret Cain


In The Sea Wolf by Jack London, Humphrey Van Weyden is an American upper class gentleman on a ferry-steamer, but a collision almost drowns him in the sea. He is rescued by Wolf Larsen, the captain of a seal-hunting schooner named the Ghost. Forced to serve Wolf, Humphrey witnesses how Wolf treats his crew carelessly, for the Captain believes in Materialism, where life is only matter and has no value to others. Humphrey, on the other hand, argues for Idealism, the belief in spiritual values that transcend life such as love and honor. Although Wolf initially dominates the weak Humphrey, London showed his bias toward Idealism by portraying Humphrey as the victorious survivor.



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