The Sea-Wolf

by

Jack London

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The Sea-Wolf: Chapter 33 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Van Weyden and Maud Brewster wait all day for Wolf Larsen to come out, but he doesn’t come out or even appear on deck. There’s no sign of Wolf Larsen for two days, and they wonder if he is dead or dying of his headaches.
Wolf Larsen continues to act as a ghost-like figure on the Ghost, seemingly disappearing without leaving a trace but still haunting Van Weyden and Brewster as they try to go about their lives.
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Though Maud Brewster was initially afraid of Wolf Larsen, after more time passes, she tells Van Weyden too go aboard and check on him. Van Weyden goes aboard and finds Wolf Larsen where he left him, in a bad mood. After a short conversation, Van Weyden heads back to Maud.
Tension builds as Wolf Larsen continues to remain off the coast of the island without indicating what his intentions are. It’s clear that some final confrontation may need to occur to resolve the conflict between Larsen and Van Weyden, but it isn’t clear what form the confrontation will take.
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A week goes by, and the only sign of Wolf Larsen is some occasional smoke coming up from the galley of the Ghost. Soon, though, even the smoke stops. Before Maud Brewster can say anything, Van Weyden decides to go check on Wolf Larsen again.
Wolf Larsen’s occasional smoke signals show how even though he and Van Weyden are on the same island, they can only communicate from a distance. This situation perhaps symbolizes the philosophical distance that defines their relationship.
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Van Weyden watches Wolf Larsen in secret. Wolf seems to be in a state of total despair and barely manage to compose himself. Suddenly, Wolf Larsen notices an open trap door and realizes Van Weyden is somewhere aboard.
This passage shows that Wolf Larsen is not always as strong and confident as he tries to appear—when he thinks nobody is watching him, he expresses visible despair and pain.
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Wolf Larsen believes Van Weyden is belowdecks, so he closes the trap door and puts a heavy chest over it. As Van Weyden watches Wolf Larsen move, he realizes that Wolf is now blind. He goes back to report the news to Maud Brewster.
This passage displays Wolf Larsen’s extraordinary willpower. Even though he is blind and weakened by illness, he is nevertheless determined to overcome Van Weyden.
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Quotes