The character’s speech as a main tool in the creation Wolf Larsen’s worldview | Статья в журнале «Молодой ученый»

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Авторы: ,

Рубрика: Филология, лингвистика

Опубликовано в Молодой учёный №18 (308) май 2020 г.

Дата публикации: 04.05.2020

Статья просмотрена: 10 раз

Библиографическое описание:

Самамбет, М. К. The character’s speech as a main tool in the creation Wolf Larsen’s worldview / М. К. Самамбет, Н. Н. Омарова. — Текст : непосредственный // Молодой ученый. — 2020. — № 18 (308). — С. 445-448. — URL: https://moluch.ru/archive/308/69549/ (дата обращения: 22.01.2022).



The purpose of the article is to analyze the image of Wolf Larsen in the novel “The Sea Wolf” by Jack London from the linguistic point of view. The idea that the author poses acute social questions through the heroes of his work is substantiated.Jack London combined adventure novel and psychological realism, and therefore the inner world of heroes is the main thing in creating images. Hamlet is Wolf Larsen's favorite character and, in addition to the Shakespearean hero, he is puzzled by eternal questions about the value of life and death. The dialogs between the main characters help the author to reveal bright and vivid image of seasoned sailor.

Keywords: Wolf Larsen, antagonist, psychological realism, character’s worldview.

Цель статьи — проанализировать образ Волrа Ларсена в романе Джека Лондона «Морской волк» с лингвистической точки зрения. Обоснована идея о том, что автор ставит острые социальные вопросы через героев своей работы. Джек Лондон объединил приключенческий роман и психологический реализм, и поэтому внутренний мир героев является главным в создании образов. Гамлет — любимый персонаж Волка Ларсена, и, подобно шекспировскому герою, он озадачен вечными вопросами о ценности жизни и смерти. Диалоги главных героев помогают автору раскрыть яркий образ опытного моряка.

Ключевые слова: Волк Ларсен, антагонист, психологический реализм, мировоззрение персонажа.

The worldview of the hero is one of the means of creating an image.According to the Oxford Dictionary of English “worldview is a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.” [1, p.284] The author uses the speech of Wolf Larsen in order to reveal his worldview and inner world to the readers. In the worldview of characters, readers will learn about the writer’s attitude towards people, life and the world. A. M. Zverev in his book about work of Jack London describes Wolf Larsen:“With all his actions, he is trying to destroy the halo of sanctity and immunity with which the concept of «human life» is crowned in the minds of magnanimous intellectuals like Humphrey [2, p.16].

The novel takes place in 1893 in the Pacific Ocean. Humphrey Van Weyden, a resident of San Francisco, a well-known literary critic, takes a ferry across the Golden Gate to visit his friend and gets into a shipwreck along the way. He is picked up by the captain of the fishing schooner “Ghost”, whose name is Wolf Larsen on board. The assistant of captain dies and the team lacks one person. Then Larsen appoints 35-year-old intellectual Van Weyden as a cabin boy. Brutal and cynical, yet also highly intelligent and intellectual Captain talks a lot with Humphrey about life and literature. For example:

«I believe that life is a mess». «It is like yeast, a ferment, a thing that moves and may move for a minute, an hour, a year, or a hundred years, but that in the end will cease to move. The big eat the little that they may continue to move, the strong eat the weak that they may retain their strength. The lucky eat the most and move the longest, that is all.” [3, p.34]

Tempered by a difficult childhood and life among sailors, he does not believe in God, in friendship and in love. Life seems to him the ridiculous, senseless vanity in which there is no place for anything noble.

The captain compares the work of his sailors with the swarming of sea creatures than showing his contempt for them. He does not treat them as people, each of whom is individual. People, who have dreams and hope. In his opinion, they live and work only to eat:

«They move, so does the jelly-fish move. They move in order to eat in order that they may keep moving. There you have it. They live for their belly's sake, and the belly is for their sake. It's a circle; you get nowhere». [3, p.34]

In the dialogues of Wolf Larsen and Humphrey, the author speaks about social inequality and the hard life of working people. He condemns a state in which the working class is doing all hard work but workers are starving and forced to survive:

“You never made anything in your own sweat. You live on an income which your father earned. You are like a frigate bird swooping down upon the boobies and robbing them of the fish they have caught. You are one with a crowd of men who have made what they call a government, who are masters of all the other men, and who eat the food the other men get and would like to eat themselves. You wear the warm clothes. They made the lothes, but they shiver in rags and ask you the lawyer, or business agent who handles your money, for a job». [3, p.35]

Larsen says that people can only consume, use not only things but also other human being. He believes that in the world of people there is no justice and calls life a real piggishness:

«It is piggishness, and it is life. Of what use or sense is an immortality of piggishness? What is the end? What is it all about?

You have made no food. Yet the food you have eaten or wasted might have saved the lives of as core of wretches who made the food but did not eat it. What immortal end did you serve?or did they? Consider yourself and me. What does your boastedimmortality amount to when your life runs foul of mine? You would like to go back to the land, which is a favourable place for your kind of piggishness. It is a whim of mine to keep you aboard this ship, where my piggishness flourishes. And keep you I will. I may make or break you.

But if we are immortal, what is the reason for this? To be piggish as you and I have been all our lives does not seem to be just the thing for immortals to be doing. [3, p.35]

He condemns Van Weyden for the fact that he never had to earn a living himself and he lived on a fortune earned by his father. He says that people are driven by base motives and desire to profit at the expense of other people. Therefore, they are not worthy of the immortality of the spirit.

«Then why move at all, since moving is living? Without moving and being part of the yeast there would be no hopelessness. But, — and there it is, — we want to live and move, though wehave no reason to, because it happens that it is the nature of life to live and move, to want to live and move. It is because of this life that is in you that you dream of your immortality. The life that is in you is alive and wants to go on being alive for ever. Bah! An eternity of piggishness!" [3, p.35]

He adds that in spite of all the meaninglessness of life, a human being desperately desires to live and move, because the desire to live is one of the basic instincts of all living things.Wolf Larsen read Darwin's theory but did not correctly interpret it and equated human life with a fermenting leaven, denying the presence of the moral principles in people. The captain is convinced that morality and ideals are just illusions and that life is worthless.

Why, if there is anything insupply and demand, life is the cheapest thing in the world. There is only somuch water, so much earth, so much air; but the life that is demanding to be born is limitless. Nature is a spendthrift. Look at the fish and their millions of eggs. For that matter, look at you and me. In our loins are thepossibilities of millions of lives.

Life? Bah! It has no value. Of cheap things it is the cheapest. Everywhere it goes begging. Nature spills it out with a lavish hand. Where there is room forone life, she sows a thousand lives, and it's life eats life till thestrongest and most piggish life is left». [3, p.44]

Wolf Larsen says that there were more sailors than there were ships on the sea for them, more workers than there were factories or machines for them. And government house poor people in the slums of cities and loose famine and pestilence upon them, and that there still remain more poor people, dying for want of a crust of bread and a bit of meat (which is also life destroyed), than they don’t know what to do with. He asks Humphrey had heever seen the London dockers fighting like wild beasts for a chance to work.

«Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course over-estimated since it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favour.” [3, p.45]

As a cabin boy, Van Weyden cleans up the captain’s cabin and is surprised to find books on astronomy and physics, Darwin’s works, works by Shakespeare, Tennyson, Swinburne and Browning.This finding will make Hump convinced that the captain is not illiterate person. After this incident, cabin boy and the captain spend many nights talking about literature and philosophy.

The captain read the Bible and especially liked the passage from Ecclesiastes which spoke of the sage who reigned over the nation of Israel. The ruler loved life and was most afraid of death. He preferred the vanity and vexation to the silence and unmovableness of the grave. And so Larsen:

“To crawl is piggish; but to not crawl, to be as the clod and rock, is loathsome to contemplate. It is loathsome to the life that is in me, the very essence of which is movement, the power of movement, and the consciousness of the power of movement. Life itself is unsatisfaction, but to look ahead to death is greater unsatisfaction». [3, p.65]

In his random reading, Captain Larsen had never chanced upon the Rubeiyet by Omar Hayam, and it was to him like a great treasure. Hump reminded this poem without difficulty. They talked for hours over single stanzas, and Captain found a wail of regret and a rebellion which, cabin boy could not discover himself:

«What, without asking, hither hurried WHENCE?

And, without asking, WHITHER hurried hence!

Oh, many a Cup of this forbidden Wine -

Must drown the memory of that insolence!" [3, p.66]

This quatrain Wolf Larsen’s favorite one, as there were asked questions that worried him most.

The ship has an atmosphere of terror and primitive fear, since the captain always acts in accordance with his conviction that human life is the cheapest of all cheap things. The captain relies on hunters which are in a privileged position, and Van Weiden the further, the more favored. Moreover, starting the journey on the ship with an assistant to the cook, “Hump” (a hint of the stoop of people with mental labor), as he was called by Larsen, makes a career as a captain assistant.

Living and working side by side with sailors, Humphrey who has never before done any physical work, grows stronger in body and spirit. He realizes that he completely did not know real life. After spending several months on the “Ghost” schooner, he realizes that the environment had a huge impact on him. His beliefs begin to change under the onslaught of the strong will of the captain:

“I found myself afflicted with Wolf Larsen's repulsive ideas. What was it all about? Where was the grandeur of life that it should permit such wanton destruction of human souls? It was a cheap and sordid thing after all, this life, and the sooner over the better. Over and done with! I, too, leaned upon the rail and gazed longingly into the sea, with the certainty that sooner or later I should be sinking down, down, through the cool green depths of its oblivion.“ [3, p.91]

If at the beginning of the novel the captain appears as an incredibly strong, unpredictable and insidious person, then during the story the author reveals the root causes of cruelty, black anguish and the devilish antics of the main character. Wolf Larsen is not a static personage, he changes. He had a great impact on people around him, especially Humphrey Van Veiden, whom he actually took into slavery, but in the end he taught to protect himself and to stand firmly on his feet.He bitterly admits that he would like to change his beliefs, but at his age this is no longer possible:

«Too late. I'd like to, perhaps, but I can't. My pocketbook is stuffed with the old coinage, and it's a stubborn thing. I can never bring myself to recognize anything else as valid». [3, p.130]

At the end of the novel, Wolf Larsen loses his sight, then his hearing, he is paralyzed due to a head tumor. Gradually, he loses all vital functions.Surprisingly, despite his deplorable position, he did not lose heart, but continued to reflect on life and death:

«When there is no pain I have perfect peace and quiet. I have never thought so clearly. I can ponder life and death like a Hindoo sage». [3, p. 203]

But he did not believe in the existence of immortality:

“It was Wolf Larsen's last word, «bosh», skeptical and invincible to the end.” [3, p. 203]

Wolf Larsen himself was a real personification of the sea. His character has not changed at all. It was all the same indomitable; terrible Wolf Larsen, imprisoned, in his dead body, which was once so magnificent and indestructible. Now she turned into fetters and locked his soul into silence and darkness, blocking him from the world, which was for him an arena of such a stormy activity.

Never again will he have to conjugate the verb «do» in every way. «To be» is all that is left for him. But this is precisely how he defined the concept of “death” — “to be,” that is, to exist, but outside of movement; to plot, but not to fulfill; to think, reason, and in this remain as alive as yesterday, but in the flesh — dead, hopelessly dead.

The author masterfully revealed the image of the main character in dialogues between Humphrey and the Captain. Possessing extraordinary physical strength and a sharp mind, but living among illiterate sailors, Wolf Larsen is very lonely and can’t use all his abilities in full force. He again and again wonders about the meaning of life and death. By his reasoning, he often brings himself to spleen and his bestial yearning finds a way out in wild antics.

He was a complete individualist and materialist, who does not believe in the immortality of the soul, morality, nobility and courage. He despises people and mocks at life. Using male images in this novel, the author expresses all his pain and protest against social inequity and hard working class life. Jack London created the image of a man as powerful and ruthless as the ocean itself. People around him compare him with predatory animals, with Caliban and Lucifer, but he was an unhappy person, by no means, a monster, but only the product of a bloody and cruel business, in the formation of which he played one of the main roles. Larsen is a tragic character, because he learned this philosophy not from books, but it was a natural result of his entire broken life. The image of Captain Larsen scares and delights readers to this day.

References:

  1. Oxford Dictionary of English, Oxford University Press, 2017.
  2. M. Zverev, JACK LONDON: GREATNESS OF TALENT AND PARADOXES OF DESTINY. M, 1984.
  3. London J.The Sea Wolf.M, 1984.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): AND, DESTINY, GREATNESS, JACK, LONDON, PARADOXES, TALENT, WHENCE, WHITHER, Лондон, психологический реализм.


Ключевые слова

antagonist, Wolf Larsen, psychological realism, character’s worldview

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