Chapter Questions 31-39 (Discuss whole book)


Sea-Wolf Reading Questions Chapters 31-39

p.196-244 (48 pages)

Chapter 31

9th/10th 1.  What do Maud and Hump build?  What do they use for the roof?

All-2.  How does London describe their sleep?  Why do you think he chose this description?

ALL-3. Describe the foreshadowing London does in this chapter.  Do you think seems forced or is it effective?  What new dimension does this give Maud’s character?  Is this characteristic considered important for the ideal woman?

Chapter 32

9th/10th  1.  What does Hump see just off the shore when he awakes?

ALL-2.  Does this plot twist seem feasible or too contrived, too improbable?

ALL-3.  Compare p. 200-203 with p. 99.  In both encounters with Wolf what is Wolf trying to get Hump to do?

JRS/SRS  Back on p. 99, is Wolf’s assessment of Hump’s failure to try to kill him really accurate?

Read Romans 12:17-21.  If Hump were trusting in God’s justice and seeking God to intervene, asking Him for His wisdom etc, would he really be “sinning against his pitiful little code” or would he be keeping it?

ALL-On p. 201-202, is Hump right not to shoot?  Is he also right not to let his guard down?

Even though he berates himself as a coward and Wolf belittles him again, is Hump actually acting rightly to not kill Wolf, but wait for him to make a hostile move before shooting?

Can you find biblical basis for your belief other than Romans 12?

ALL- If the whole crew were there to put Wolf on trial, or the authorities, would justice say that Wolf Larsen should be put to death for his crimes?

ALL-How is that different than Hump shooting an unarmed man?  If Hump had gone through with it, what do you think might have happened when the authorities found them alive and Wolf shot, but no weapon on Wolf or sign of a struggle?

Chapter 33

ALL-1.  On the bottom of p. 207 top of 208, how does Hump describe Maud?

Do you think she is being altruistic or sentimental or both?

Is altruism always based on sentimental feeling like this?  Why or why not?

Jrs/Srs. 2.  What does Hump now refer to morality as? (top p. 208)  How is this similar to some of the beliefs detailed in the Humanist Manifesto?  What is morality really?

ALL- 3.  What is Wolf like now?  What is wrong with him?

Chapter 34

ALL-1.  What has being with Maud done for Hump’s confidence.  What message do you think London is sending about ideal manhood?

NOTE:  A windlass is a come along or hand winch of some sort.  See dictionary for further description.

ALL-2.  What does Hump think they can do? List some changes that have taken place in Hump.

ALL-3.  What compliment does Wolf pay Hump?  (p. 214)  What does he mean by his words?  How does this epitomize one of London’s main themes?

ALL-4. a. How does Hump turn Wolf’s philosophy back on him? (p.214) Of what does Hump warn Wolf?

Chapter 35

Jrs/Srs.  1. What does Wolf do to make Hump so angry?  p.219

  1. ALL p.219-20 What does Maud say to comfort Hump? What do you think of her statement, “It will all come right. We are in the right, it must come right.”

Chapter 36

9th/10th 1.  On p. 223, what does Maud say about why she was headed to Japan and the ways she has changed?

Jrs/Srs. 2.  What theme is London bringing out about what civilization does to people? (middle of p.227 right before Hump exclaims, “Dear Woman…”)

ALL-3.  What do Hump and Maud do to Wolf?  Why?

  1. (P. 258) Record the paragraph beginning with “Truly she was my woman, my mate…”

How does this, once again, communicate Jack London’s world view and one of his main themes?

Chapter 37

ALL-1.  What’s happening to Wolf?

ALL-2.  What does London seem to be attributing Wolf’s demise to?  Chance? An innate weakness that is rendering Hump the fittest?  God’s judgment?

Jrs/Srs. 3.  What do you think London is trying to say with his allusion to Dr. Jordan, a “modern hero” and dismantling the “old pantheon” to erect a new one?  What was the Pantheon in Rome?  You may want to come back to this after answering the questions for the Humanist Manifesto.

Jrs.Srs. 4. 1. What does Wolf wish he could have done to Hump?  Why?

 ALL 5. How does Wolf explain away any semblance of a soul?

 Chapter 38

Jrs/Srs. 1.  What do you think of Wolf saying that he can ponder life and death like a Hindu sage?

ALL-Remember the London is putting this reference in on purpose.  Notice that he is not comparing himself to any wise Christian and has only made mockery of faith.  Also notice all these references to spirits and spiritualism.

Jrs/Srs.  Do you think London is including these because he’s trying to make a point that man does have a spirit?

ALL-2.  List some of Hump’s newest skills and achievements from the last several chapters and esp. p238.

Chapter 39

ALL-1.  What is happening to the Ghost? What do you think the Ghost symbolizes?  What is another word for ghost?  Do you see any irony here?  (p. 239-241)

9th/10th 2. What is Hump rejoicing in?

Jrs/Srs.  3.  What does Hump call the sun breaking through as they sail out of the cove?  What does God’s word have to say about omens?  Again, note London’s word choice and who he does not choose to have Hump give any glory to.

ALL-4.  On page 241 just after, “And the sun is gone,” what does Hump say they had mastered?

What significance does this phrase have in informing London’s theme?


2pts. Extra-Credit:  What does London seem to be saying about ideal male and female roles?  Is there anything wrong with his complimentary rather than egalitarian view?  Is there biblical support for such a view?  If so, cite some passages from Scripture.

  The next set of questions are for ALL-

  1. On page 243, when Wolf dies, what does Maud say about him with great faith?


What does she say to him when they cast his body overboard?


(By the way, if Wolf were evil in life, would you really want him as a “free spirit” after dying—a spirit that could inflict spiritual cruelty perhaps—This makes me think more deeply about the need for hell—a need for evil to be contained after dying.)


How do you feel/What do you think about Maud’s pronouncements and Hump’s agreement?


What does this say about London’s rationalization about death and what he thinks happens to one’s spirit after death, if a person does have an immortal spirit?


Why is what Maud and Hump say about Wolf not biblical?  Cite some scriptures that relate to what happens to unbelievers when they die.


  1. What do you think of the ending of Sea-Wolf and the way London chose to have Hump and Maud’s romance unfold?


  1. Write a paragraph explaining what you think London’s main message is in The Sea Wolf. What is his main theme?  Give at least two references from the book to support your position.
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