Top 10 Notes: The Sea-Wolf

Born in 1876 in San Francisco, California, Jack London held many professions during his lifetime. He was a magazine writer, journalist, and social activists as well as an author. His most well-known novels are “The Call of the Wild,” “White Fang” and “The Sea Wolf.” Welcome to, and in this installment of Mojo Notes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about Jack London’s “The Sea-Wolf.”

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This novel revolves around a literary critic and an immoral sea captain named Wolf. Welcome to, and in this installment of Mojo Notes, we’ll be exploring ten things you should know about Jack London’s “The Sea-Wolf.”

#10: About the Author

Born in 1876 in San Francisco, California, Jack London’s love of writing began thanks to early childhood reading. He took up various jobs as a teen and briefly studied at Berkeley. After some of his work was published in magazines, he found success with “The Call of the Wild,” and continued to write while maintaining a ranch. His health declined and he died in 1916.

#9: Influences and Inspirations

London’s time spent hunting seals on a schooner before becoming a professional writer most likely inspired many of the experiences of “The Sea-Wolf”’s Humphrey van Weyden. The writer admitted that real-life sailor Captain Alex MacLean influenced the character of Wolf Larsen. The psychological adventure also mentions thinkers and writers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare.

#8: Settings and Era

The majority of “The Sea-Wolf”’s action takes place at sea in the San Francisco Bay. Protagonist Humphrey van Weyden begins his voyage on a San Francisco ferry, but it crashes and he’s rescued by Wolf Larsen and the sealing schooner he captains, known as the Ghost. Humphrey and a female castaway named Maud Brewster later find themselves stranded on an island that’s deserted except for seals.

#7: Plot

Humphrey van Weyden, who is also the novel’s protagonist, narrates “The Sea-Wolf.”
The tale follows his adventures after he’s picked up by the Captain of a seal-hunting sailing vessel while lost at sea. After crewmembers Leach and Johnson unsuccessfully attempt to overthrow Wolf Larsen, things get even more complicated: the Captain and Humphrey develop feelings for one of the female castaways they find named Maud Brewster. After some time, Humphrey and Maud find themselves on a deserted island and must fight to survive when fate brings Wolf into their midst once more.

#6: The Protagonist: Humphrey van Weyden

When we’re first introduced to him, Humphrey is seen as more of an intellectual than a man concerned with physical and material things. Hump gains physical strength while working with Wolf Larsen and learns how to be more independent and to take care of himself. He’s such a moral man and sticks to his values so strongly that he takes cares of Wolf and is unwilling to kill him despite the Captain’s wretched behavior.

#5: The Antagonist: Wolf Larsen

Because of Captain Wolf Larsen’s forceful and pessimistic outlook, his crewmembers find life on the Ghost difficult and unpleasant. As someone who’s both physically and mentally strong, Wolf isn’t afraid to show people who’s boss, even if it’s his own brother, Death Larsen. He’ll treat people badly without thinking about the consequences and will even take a life if he has to. This is why he’s called Wolf, though we never find out what his real name is. His actions demonstrate Wolf is ultimately a very unhappy man and that he’s selfish, shameless, and cruel – though he’s also courageous.

#4: Maud Brewster

Maud Brewster is a wealthy poet who knew Humphrey before he started working at sea. She’s also a smart and good-looking woman who usually depends on others. Though Humphrey feels like he needs to take care of her while they’re on Wolf’s boat, she also learns to take care of herself. This helps her to survive being on a deserted island with Humphrey later on in the novel.

#3: Values and Themes

One of the main themes of “The Sea-Wolf” is the exploration of civilization and nature, which is represented by the characters of Humphrey and Wolf. After leaving civilization, Humphrey learns how to survive in nature while Wolf’s extreme behavior away from city life shows that a balance should be found. The way the Captain commands the ship is meant to symbolize some of the downsides of the business world.

#2: Modern Popularity

Thanks to the popularity of his 1903 novel “The Call of the Wild,” London’s “The Sea-Wolf” was a highly anticipated work. Antagonist Wolf Larsen especially captivated critics. Today, the book is one of London’s most famous novels.

#1: Adaptations

Though the novel has been adapted for radio, it’s most well known for being adapted for the big and small screens on numerous occasions. These have ranged from the highly regarded black-and-white 1941 version to a TV miniseries and more.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite piece of “The Sea-Wolf” trivia? With a new Top 10 published every day, make sure to Subscribe to for more entertaining top 10s.

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