Sea-Wolf Reading Questions
Chapters 23-30 p.139-195 (56 pages)
Ch. 23 p. 139-143
- Read page 139-143 very carefully for the extreme contrast London is painting between Maud and Wolf. Record the main features of this contrast in your journal. Add to your list for Maud Brewster and on another sheet of paper (but not on the back of your Maud list) make a list of as many of Wolf’s traits as you can. (If possible, include page numbers.)
- Record the following quote with your Maud list from p. 140. “She was in striking contrast to Wolf Larsen. Each was nothing that the other was, everything that the other was not. I noted them walking on the deck together one morning, and I likened them to the extreme ends of the human ladder of evolution—the one the culmination of all savagery, the other the finished product of the finest civilization.” Remember this as the novel progresses and keep an eye on how Maud, like Hump, changes. Be thinking about what London is saying through this.
- (Bottom of p. 140 through middle of p. 141.) What are Maud and Hump terrified of? How does Hump feel about Maud?
Ch. 24 esp. p. 144-149
- a. (9th/10th) Summarize the debate Maud and Wolf have about why the men are so upset about the Macedonia sweeping in and clearing away their seal catch.
- (Jrs./Srs.) What does Wolf call Maud? What is a sentimentalist?
Watch and see if he is right. Think about whether a person with a strong moral compass and belief in the worth of human life and eternity must be a sentimentalist.
3. (Jrs./Srs.) Is what Maud and Hump believe really true? Why or why not? (top of p. 148). Provide a Scriptural reference if you can.
4. 9th/10th Bottom of p. 149- Why is Wolf so unhappy?
Ch. 25 P. 150-160
1.9th/10th What is Wolf out for? Why is he hunting the Macedonian fishing boats?
2a.Jrs/Srs. What does Wolf say about Maud after he says he likes her one hundred percent better for her bravery? Why is this significant? (Bottom of p. 154)
2b. 9th/10th What plans does Wolf have for Maud? (Bottom of P.154)
- ALL On page 154-155, what is coming out about fear and bravery? Watch for this in future chapters, see if it becomes a motif. (If you don’t remember what a motif is, please look it up.)
Ch. 26 p.161-171
- 9th/10th What are some of the ways Wolf Larsen and the Ghost are described by Wolf’s crew when the crew members are drunk and getting doctored up? (p. 161)
- Jrs/Srs. (p. 165-166) Who was Circe? (Look it up.) How does this allusion describe the situation on board the Ghost and possibly foreshadow a hopeful end?
- What has Hump’s love for Maud done for him? (p. 162)
- a. 9th/10th What does Wolf believes drives men? (p186)
- Jrs/Srs. How might this help explain why London is exalting “love” all of a sudden? Or is there something happening in London’s life around the time that he wrote The Sea-Wolf that sheds light on London’s redefinition of what being the fittest must include. (See Jack London Marriages file with this week’s docs.)
- ALL When Wolf begins to speak of Milton’s Paradise Lost, how does he interpret Lucifer and his rebellion. What does he applaud and praise Satan for? (p. 165-166)
- ALL From page 165 last sentence through p. 166, write out the quote beginning with, “He preferred suffering in freedom….” And ending in, “He was an individual.” What part of this quote is a motif of the book?
- ALL a. What was the defiant cry of a mighty spirit, according to Wolf? Quote what Wolf cried out from Milton, beginning with, “Here at last…”. (middle of page 166)
- ALL a. What does Maud call Wolf in a terrified whisper? (p. 166)
- Read Isaiah 14:9-15, John 8:44-51 and Ephesians 6:10-20.
- Write out Ephesians 6:10 and John 16:33.
- ALL (p.166-167) What does Hump discover when he wakes in the middle of the night? What does he do? What happens to Wolf?
- ALL How does Chapter 26 end? Note what is said about bravery.
Ch. 27 P. 172-178
NOTE the following and be ready to discuss in class: In this chapter, catch the dualism and reuniting of the spirit and the flesh—the spirit and the physical—have you seen this theme being built in past chapters by the spirit and body/physical/material being represented as two separate things. Have you seen them coming together in Hump at all over the chapters?
- What is Hump learning about love?
- Jrs/Srs. What do you make of Hump’s allusion to Jehovah and to Him being anthropomorphic so the Israelites could conceive of Him better? Be sure to define anthropomorphic.
- ALL What had love done to Hump’s fear? What was better to love or to be loved? Write a quote from this chapter relating to this.
Ch. 28 P. 179-184
1.ALL Hump says that Maud was timid and afraid, yet she possessed what? Note that this is twice that London has pointed this characteristic out—remember Wolf liked her better for it. Add this to your collection of what London thinks the ultimate man and woman needs to possess. Also remember that Hump pointed out that Wolf did not really have this because he didn’t really need it. (p.155)
- Jrs/Srs. In the beginning of second to the last paragraph on p. 183, what does Hump say about “the gods”? Why do you think London has him say this instead of “Now if God be….”? What does this say about Hump’s beliefs? Do you think he is serious at all about referring to “the gods” or do you think this is just a saying to him?
Ch. 29 p. 185-189
- ALL What did Hump forget to bring? What does this force him to use to get a fire started? What trait is this that London would say is helping him survive?
- ALL What does Hump think to himself that states one of London’s main themes? (p. 189) Write out most of that last paragraph.
Ch. 29 & 30
1.ALL What is Hump proud of Maud for? How does his assessment of her breeding in relation to the “peasant women’s” tasks she was performing reiterate London’s evolutionary interpretation of classism?
2.ALL a. Read page 191-195 very carefully.
b.What keeps the harem safe?
c.What makes the young bulls vulnerable? (p.193)
d.How did wild geese protect their young? (191)
e. Jrs/Srs. (Be ready to share with class) How might this help explain London’s rejection of the “super individual as master” theme—in favor of a more altruistic, socially conscious protagonist (Check out Sparks Notes, The Call of the Wild p. 2 of PDF in your assignment files this week to understand how he built the super-individual conquering theme.)
3.ALL Take notes on the paragraph on page 194 that begins with, “I shall never forget…” Write significant phrases. Who does Hump imagine himself to be like? Watch and see if this ‘more highly evolved’ theme is developed further as the novel continues.
- ALL (you may work together) List all the differences you can think of between humans and animals. (Think about such things as why it is so different to see or hear about a deer being hit by a car and a toddler or teen or adult being killed in a car accident. Think and write about what it means to be made in God’s image.)
5.ALL-(you may work together) Now think more about God’s triune nature and His loving nature and how He made people for relationship with Him and with each other. Find two verses that have to do with people being made for God and His love and two verses about people being made for community and fellowship with each other. Does the fact that God designs and calls people for relationship, and to love and cooperate with one another, shed light on Humps misunderstood observation of seals and geese?
6.ALL Define prodigious.
7.ALL On the bottom of page 194 , how does Hump refer to himself? What is he thanking Wolf for?
8.ALL What does Hump want to call Maud, but is afraid to say to her out loud?
(Note: Just before Jack London died he gave his wife Charmian a ring and suggested that she have it engraved “Wolf to Mate”. He was married to his first wife for three years. His nickname for her was Mother-Girl and it is reported that they agreed to marry because they thought they could produce strong offspring together. They married in 1900 and separated in 1903, because he “fell in love” with Charmian Kittredge. 1903 was the year he published The Call of the Wild. 1904 The Sea-Wolf was published and 1905 his divorce was official with his first wife and he married Charmian the next day. He called her his Mate Woman—see Eugenics versus Love in assignment files.)