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The Sea-Wolf by Jack London (ebook)

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The Sea-Wolf is a novel written in 1904 by American author Jack
London. An immediate bestseller, the first printing of forty thousand
copies was sold out before publication. 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."

Plot Summary:

Like The Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf tells the story of a soft,
domesticated protagonist, in this novel's case an intellectual man
named Humphrey van Weyden, forced to become tough and self-reliant by
exposure to cruelty and brutality. The story starts with him onboard a
San Francisco ferry, called Martinez, which collides with another ship
in the fog and sinks. He is set adrift in the sea, eventually being
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 save survival
and pleasure 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.