When you contrast characters, you are pointing out the differences between those two characters. These differences can include physical appearance, intelligence, and actions. Authors write about contrasting characters to give both sides to the story.
Also, contrasting characters create an obvious plot of different ideas. In the story, The Sea Wolf, by Jack London has the contrasting characters Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden. Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden are the main characters of the story.Their differences make the story more interesting and also give you different outlooks to the story. Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden have different appearances, different philosophies, and also different attitudes. When we first meet Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden, we realize that they are very different looking. “His height was probably five feet ten inches, or ten and a half; but my first impression or feel of the man was not of this, but of his strength,” (p. 20) thought Humphrey the first time he saw Wolf Larsen.
Wolf Larsen was very tough and strong.He had a very rough look to him. Wolf was a very built man. He had big muscles and a very manly face structure. Unlike Wolf Larsen, Humphrey Van Weyden was not very strong. Humphrey appeared very neat and orderly. Humphrey did not show the same muscles Wolf did, and appeared very weak. Like physical appearance, Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden differed greatly in philosophy. Throughout the book, Wolf and Humphrey sit down and talk about philosophy.
Humphrey had a very easy going, nice outlook on life. He believed everyone was nice and no one should be treated wrongly.He found it very odd when Wolf Larsen was abusing and killing his shipmates because it was against his philosophy. But Wolf Larsen found this behavior very normal. Wolf Larsen believed that no human has value unless they add the value to it. Also, he believed strongly in survival of the fittest. Both found the each other’s philosophies were very wrong. After one of their philosophy talks, Humphrey says to himself, “[I] seemed to find in Wolf Larsen’s forbidding philosophy a more adequate explanation of life than I found in my own. ” (p. 73) Wolf Larsen was a very mean person as well. He was very rude to his peers and very brutal and violent. He was a believer in punishment. Wolf often called the others mean names and hit them or even killed them. He rarely thought twice about what he is doing to another person. Wolf was not very liked by the other shipmates. When asked about Wolf Larsen, one of the shipmates responded, “Wolf – tis what he is. He’s not blackhearted like some men. ‘Tis no heart he has at all. Wolf. just Wolf, tis what he is. D’ye wonder he’s well named? ” (p. 3) Unlike Wolf Larsen, Humphrey Van Weyden was very kind and gentile. He found no reason for anyone to be harmed or verbally abused. He was very nice to all shipmates and never hit or yelled at anyone. Humphrey’s philosophy is against being rude or mean to others. This contrast between Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden caused much conflict. Although Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden got along, they were very different. Wolf was very mean and rough while Humphrey wasn’t. Throughout the story, the differences between the Wolf and Humphrey caused problems.At points the two differed in opinion on a topic and clashed. These clashed and mixes of ideas made the story more interesting and also gave two separate opinions to follow in the story. Although they were very different, Wolf Larsen and Humphrey Van Weyden’s conflicts in opinion made the story more interesting in reading. BIBLIOGRAPHY: * London, Jack. The Sea Wolf. NY: Macmillan, 1904. Print. * The Sea Wolf. Dir. Michael Curtiz. Perf. Alexander Knox and Edward G. Robinson. Warner Bros. Pictures, 1941. DVD.