The Sea-Wolf

by

Jack London

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The Sea-Wolf: Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Van Weyden and Wolf Larsen treat the wounds of Mugridge, who broke his ribs in the storm. They regroup after the storm, collecting men and boats that other schooners had picked up. In the end, they are down four sailors because of the storm.
The losses that the storm causes reflect the harshness of life at sea; they also explain why many of the sailors have such a casual attitude toward death.
Themes
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
Van Weyden learns more about how to be a sailor, particularly during periods when Wolf Larsen has a headache. One day, Leach approaches Van Weyden in secret and asks him how far off the coast they are. Soon, after, a boat, Johnson, and Leach all disappear.
Van Weyden’s decision to help Leach and Johnson (who earlier attempted an uprising against Larsen) suggests that despite accepting a position as Wolf Larsen’s mate, he still doesn’t agree with Larsen’s cruel leadership methods.
Themes
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
Furious, Wolf Larsen chases after Leach and Johnson, who have escaped. They come upon a boat, and Van Weyden is so afraid of what Wolf Larsen might do to Leach and Johnson that he readies his gun. As it turns out, however, it is a different boat with four men and a woman in it.
Wolf Larsen searches for one boat but finds another;  this further exemplifies how life at sea can be unpredictable. The fact that Van Weyden is potentially willing to use a gun against Larsen shows how life at sea has changed him: he’s far more accepting of violence than he was before.
Themes
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
Wolf Larsen asks Van Weyden to take the woman, whose name is Maud Brewster, to the spare port cabin. Maud Brewster asks what will happen to her, and Van Weyden admits that there is no telling what Wolf Larsen will do, although he tries to reassure her. Van Weyden leaves her to sleep and recover.
Maud Brewster is significant because she’s the story’s first and only major female character. Even more so than Van Weyden, she is an outsider on the masculine-dominated ship, and her arrival marks a major shift in the story.
Themes
Self-Reliance and Maturation Theme Icon
Survival of the Fittest Theme Icon
Love, Duty, and Choice Theme Icon
Quotes
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