– To The Open Mind Essay, Research Paper
SURVIVAL – TO THE OPEN MIND
Jack London s literary tactics as well as style, helped to define the key theme in The Sea Wolf of being a well balanced individual capable of survival under any circumstances. By placing Maud Brewster in the position to fall in love with Van Weydon, London stressed the need for the genuinely important love between a man and a woman. In presenting the mind as a mightier force than sheer and brute strength, London displayed the capacity to which a sound mind fulfills. Humprey s adaptation and evolution, for the better, represented the fundamental message London sought to deliver through his writing. As though contesting that two heads are better than one, London deemed it necessary to emphasize the significance of the of love from a woman.
London used Maud to help to contribute to the well-rounded individual he sought to create through Humprey. Her love, if not the catalyst, served to strengthen the evolving of Hump into a man more capable of withstanding the trials of life. They were able to feed off each other and attain a greater sense of boldness, as well as a broadened perspective on life:
… and at the same moment my heart surged with a great joy. Truly she was my woman, my mate-woman, fighting with me and for me as the mate of a caveman would have fought, all the primitive in her aroused,
forgetful of her culture, hard under the softening civilization of the only life she had ever known (London, 234).
The bond between Humprey and Maud had cultured into love, which caused their individual status to be elevated as well. Filled with a new assurance, passion, and primitive nature, the two were able to stride toward their place as complete and noteworthy human beings. In his next step toward displaying the
model creature, London addressed the value of the mind as the top priority.
In presenting Wolf and Humprey, with regards to their respective highlights, London defined knowledge as the most powerful attribute toward any kind of successful human being. It was in fact Humprey, the intellectual, who in the end succeeded in conquering over the physical power as well as the terror of Larsen. By taking knowledge and using it as power, Humprey was able to supersede the striking brutality Wolf presented;
You forget, you are no longer the biggest bit of the ferment. You were, once, and able to eat me, as you were pleased to phrase it; but there has been a diminishing, and I am now able to eat you. The yeast has grown stale (220).
Wolf s power had been depleted, and he was no longer able to use it to rise above others. The human mind however, Humprey s, was still growing strong, fully capable of survival, but also success. It was that power of mind that enabled Humprey to adapt and acquire skill in new fields, that led to his perfectly embodied life.
From a worthless gentleman to an eventually successful man, Humprey was sculpted in a way that ensured both his survival, but also his power and potential, due to his unlocking of gifts. Although born into a cultured and wealthy family, Humprey s primitive nature was forced to be unleashed if he hoped to live. By becoming a more primal man while maintaining his sense of mind, Van Weyden achieved a culmination to be exemplified. A feat which was shown through London s powerful and triumphant presentation;
It can be done, it can be done, I was thinking and asserting aloud. What men have done, I can do; and if they have never done this before, still I can do it. (188)
The level of assertion as well as confidence portrayed by Humprey, greatly reflects on the message London sought to deliver. Van Weyden was shown completely satisfied with his own ability, which due to his complete pooling of talents, was applicable. He had risen above the rest, and applied himself in order to fulfill the requirements for survival. Humprey had become the perfectly shaped individual, destined to prosper in this life.
A gripping tale, The Sea Wolf ends in the inevitable triumph of Humprey Van Weydon over Wolf Larsen, making him the leader of the pack. The extent to which London elevated Humprey s status, undoubtedly assured the reader of the admiration with which he portrayed him. Throughout the novel, it became apparent of the necessity of freedom in order for a man to achieve their full potential, which is what Humprey did. By becoming as well-rounded as he did, he was able to emerge as victor in the so-called survival of the fittest , which indeed he was.