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Robinson was convincing as the demonic sea captain Wolf Larsen, and Garfield and Ida Lupino were well cast as the young lovers who attempt to escape his tyranny.
Another release, the undistinguished Dive Bomber , marked the last collaboration between Flynn and…. Other important novels are The Sea-Wolf , which features a Nietzschean superman hero, Humphrey Van Weyden, who battles the vicious Wolf Larsen; and The Iron Heel , a fantasy of the future that is a terrifying anticipation of fascism. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! During one of Wolf Larsen's intense headaches, which render him near immobile, van Weyden steals a boat and flees with Miss Brewster.
The two eventually land on an uninhabited island, heavily populated with seals. They hunt, build shelter and a fire, and survive for several days, using the strength they gained while on the Ghost.
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The Ghost eventually crashes on the island, with Wolf Larsen the only crew member. As a revenge, Death Larsen had tracked his brother, bribed his crew, destroyed his sails, and set Larsen adrift at sea. It is purely by chance that van Weyden and Miss Brewster meet Larsen again. Van Weyden obtains all of the weapons including firearms left on the ship, but he cannot bear to murder Larsen, who does not threaten him. Van Weyden and Miss Brewster decide they can repair the ship, but Larsen, who intends to die on the island and take them with him, sabotages any repairs they make. After a headache, Larsen is rendered blind.
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He feigns paralysis and attempts to murder van Weyden when he draws within arm's reach but just then is hit with a stroke that leaves him blind and the right side of his body paralyzed. His condition only worsens; he loses usage of his remaining arm, leg, and voice. Miss Brewster and van Weyden, unable to bring themselves to leave him to rot, care for him. Despite this kindness, he continues his resistance, setting fire to the bunk's mattress above him.
Van Weyden finishes repairing the Ghost , and he and Miss Brewster set sail. During a violent storm, Wolf Larsen dies. They give Larsen a burial at sea, an act mirroring an incident van Weyden witnessed when he was first rescued. The story ends with the two being rescued by an American revenue cutter.
Humphrey van Weyden starts the book weak of body but strong of mind. He grows stronger as the story progresses, physically through the manual labor, including his learning of the ship's workings and rivalry with ship's cook Thomas Mugridge and spiritually as he endures the various hardships, including his inconsistent relationship with Wolf Larsen. Upon meeting Maud Brewster, he realizes just how much he has changed, gaining muscle mass, a more rugged appearance, and a different outlook on life. Van Weyden has a unique relationship with Wolf Larsen. Though he is in effect the captain's prisoner, Larsen shows him favoritism and occasionally acts as a father figure, giving advice on how to survive aboard the ship.
Though Larsen claims to take van Weyden aboard primarily because he needed an additional hand, he also seems to genuinely believe he is doing something good for van Weyden. He claims that van Weyden has never "stood on his own legs", meaning he has never had to work and always relied on his inheritance from his father to survive.
Throughout the book, Larsen compliments van Weyden on his growth, eventually telling him he is proud of him, and calling him a real man, able to stand on his own legs rather than a "dead man's his father's " legs. Van Weyden has an ideology that is in sharp contrast to Larsen's.
He believes in the eternal soul , inherent good , and that men should act justly under all circumstances. His views are constantly being challenged by Larsen, who encourages him to give in to his desires and behave in an amoral fashion.
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Van Weyden resists Larsen's influence and retains his original ideology. By the end of the story, Larsen is annoyed that van Weyden still clings to his beliefs and refuses to murder him, despite all the suffering Larsen has put him through. Physically, Larsen is described as approximately five feet ten with a massive build: broad shoulders and a deep chest. He displays tremendous strength throughout the story. Van Weyden describes Larsen as beautiful on more than one occasion, perfectly symmetrical , a perfect specimen of masculinity.
Yet, despite this, his true strength is described as something more primal, more primitive, and animalistic. This animalistic strength is representative of London's belief in Social Darwinism ; Wolf Larsen's body had adapted so that Larsen could best survive on the sea and among sailors.
Larsen was born in Norway, though he is of Danish descent. He spent his entire life at sea: cabin-boy at twelve, ship's boy at fourteen, seaman at sixteen, able seaman at seventeen. It is unclear when he obtained the Ghost and became captain. He has several brothers, but only Death Larsen is mentioned.
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Larsen displays characteristics similar to what would later be described as sociopathy. He routinely takes men hostage, castaways such as van Weyden and seal hunters from other ships, and uses them to fill his own ranks when needed.
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He murders and abuses people without hesitation, seeing no value in life. He enjoys the intellectual stimulation that van Weyden and Miss Brewster provide, but van Weyden describes their relationship as one between a king and his jester. According to van Weyden, he is only a toy to Larsen. The only other activities in which Larsen seems to find joy is facing death and being in extreme danger because it allows him to test himself; these dangerous situations range from storms on the ocean to tormenting or fighting his crew men.
Despite his immense internal strength, Larsen at times shows signs of weakness and depression. He is envious of his brother, because his brother is simple minded, and so is able to enjoy life unburdened. He also claims he is envious of Miss Brewster's and van Weyden's faith, but later says it is only his mind, and he knows he is better off without it.
He also speaks of frustration that he never amounted to anything great.
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He claims that he had all the determination and will required, but was never given the proper opportunity. Wolf is not Larsen's real given name , a fact known to the crew of the Ghost. Dialogue heavily implies that he is called "Wolf" because of his nature and viciousness, and, for similar reasons, his brother is called "Death".
London was an outspoken member of the Socialist Party. Wolf Larsen portrays capitalists as people who care only for themselves and are willing to destroy other people for personal gain. The word "Wolf" has the highest number of occurrences in the novel, appearing times.
The name "Larsen" comes second, with appearances. She is rich and her work involves writing: she tells Wolf and Humphrey that she earns dollars a year, but would need a typewriter, pen and paper to work on the ship.
She is not accustomed to doing things for herself. She is twenty-seven years old and beautiful. As a captive on Larsen's boat, she uses her intelligence to survive.
Miss Brewster has the ability to stare into people's eyes and tell their emotions. Her beliefs are similar to Van Weyden, and she has read widely.