The Sea-Wolf

by

Jack London

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Sea-Wolf can help.

The Sea-Wolf: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Van Weyden finds that the best part of being mate is having no more dishes to wash. He knows little about being a mate, but he gets help from some other sailors, in particularly Louis. The hunters, however, mostly seem to dislike Van Weyden. Despite this, Van Weyden mostly enjoys the beginning of his time as mate and finds that Wolf Larsen is mostly agreeable.
Van Weyden has risen quickly through the ranks of the sailors, which is perhaps more a reflection of his ability to charm Wolf Larsen than it is a reflection of his sailing skills. This could explain why the hunters continue to be suspicious of him.
Themes
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
After the failed mutiny, Johnson is melancholic but Leach holds on to some of his fury. Either would have killed Wolf Larsen, but neither gets the opportunity. Van Weyden wonders why Wolf Larsen doesn’t just kill Leach, who makes multiple assassination attempts, but Wolf Larsen even seems to enjoy it.
It may seem strange that Wolf Larsen keeps the openly murderous Johnson and Leach around on the ship, but it soon becomes clear that Larsen is a daredevil who enjoys the risk that comes with keeping them around.
Themes
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
The Ghost arrives at the seal-hunting grounds, where it’ll remain for three or four months. Leach tells Van Weyden that if he ever makes it back to San Francisco, he should find a man named Matt McCarthy and apologize to him for all the trouble Leach has caused him—Leach doesn’t expect to survive the journey back.
The arrival at the seal-hunting grounds marks the end of one phase of the Ghost’s journey and the beginning of a new one. Leach makes plans for after his death, suggesting that although he and Wolf Larsen disagree on many things, they share a similarly casual attitude toward death. 
Themes
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon