Tom Wolfe's novel The Right Stuff, gives an accurate description into the lives of the first astronauts and rocket-powered aircraft test pilots, from their careers before, during, and after their selection to become astronauts, through to their private home lives. All throughout his book, Wolfe refers to "the right stuff" and "this righteous stuff" without ever saying upfront what "the stuff" really is. I have concluded that throughout the story, "the right stuff" is simply courage. I would personally define courage as: The willingness to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. It is never easy to put yourself into a dangerous position, this is because our brain is programmed for survival, but there are ways to better equip our brain so that these situations become less dangerous. A couple of these ways are with our natural instincts and good training.
When you have natural instincts for something, it makes that task easier than for someone who doesn't have the same instincts. There was a good part of Wolfe's book that described how instincts led to Gordon Cooper being selected into the Mercury Program. It was when he was doing the initial interview sessions when the "NASA psychologists were asking candidates about their family lives, Cooper was able to sense the correct answers and describe his family life as terrific, when in fact they were separated". Cooper's natural people person instincts helped him recognize what this line of questioning was about, kept him in the running for an astronaut position-which he later received-and was able to reconcile with his wife so they looked like the model family.
Throughout his book, Wolfe describes training that these men ...
... middle of paper ...
So after reading stories of astronauts, their families, and test pilots, I take Tom Wolfe's phrase "The Right Stuff" to mean courage that was obtained from natural instinct and training. Without any of these special traits, I believe that finding a person to fly strapped onto a rocket into the heavens would have been a very difficult one for the military and NASA. They are the intangible items that make the difference between life and death when a person is placed in a dangerous situation.
Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2001.
Wolfe's novel describes the early years of the manned rocket flight era. He tells stories from legends like Chuck Yeager, Allen Shepard, Neil Armstrong, and Gordon Cooper. These stories tell about their histories from screenings to become astronauts to being record-setting test pilots.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Tom Wolfe writes in the book “The Right Stuff” about early jet pilots that demonstrated extreme bravery, and behaviorisms that enabled them to be part of a furtive group of individuals. It has been said that these men usually assemble in groups among themselves in a way that solicited the men to be a part of a privileged membership. It is these pilots with proven courage, and abilities that will go forward testing the next barrier; space. These tried and tested men have willingly placed themselves in danger day in and day out yearning for the spot up the ladder to the top of the pyramid.... [tags: the right stuff]
711 words (2 pages)
- The Right Stuff - New Journalism The Right Stuff is a great example of the writing style called "New Journalism". Author Tom Wolfe is widely known as a ground breaker in this type of writing. New Journalism has its foundation in fact but uses techniques from the world of fiction to present the information in a refreshingly realistic way. One important fictional technique is dialogue. Seldom in "normal" journalism does a reader come across real dialogue. Through dialogue, an author is able to show the characters' personalities.... [tags: The Right Stuff]
438 words (1.3 pages)
- American Heros in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff depicts the lives of some of America's hottest pilots and its first astronauts. These men include Pete Conrad, Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Shirra, Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter and Deke Sleyton. Some of these men were hotshot test pilots at Edwards Air Force Base, and some flew cargo planes. Some had impeccable service records, while others hadn't flown in a real dog fight for even a second.... [tags: Right Stuff Tom Wolfe Pilots Flying Essays]
997 words (2.8 pages)
- In his opinionated book, From Bauhaus to Our House, Tom Wolfe describes his views on the way architecture has framed our modern world. He frames his book long essay with an excerpt from America the Beautiful, "O Beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, has there ever been another place on earth where so many people of wealth and power have paid for and put up with so much architecture they detested as within thy blessed borders today. . . . Every child goes to school in a building that looks like a duplicating-machine replacement-parts wholesale distribution warehouse .... [tags: World War II, United States, Modernism]
766 words (2.2 pages)
- In America we have so many standards in order for people to be considered successful or even to be accepted into our social norm. We scrutinize those who do not fit into our society’s standards. Americans expect people to act a certain way and in order for them to fit in and be accepted they must have the right stuff. In Tom Wolfes’s book The Right Stuff he talks all about how in the military someone either has the right stuff to become successful or they don’t have it and they just are mediocre.... [tags: Social class, Sociology, Working class]
1225 words (3.5 pages)
- Dictionary- reference defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery” In the book, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee expresses courage in many ways through the novel. In the novel, nearly every character display courage in their life. Courage is the inner desire to succeed and to do what is right, no matter what consequences of your decision. Throughout the novel, Atticus define courage as "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.... [tags: maycomb, tom robinson]
652 words (1.9 pages)
- Tom Wolfe’s: O Rotten Gotham “It got to be easy to look at New Yorkers as animals, especially looking down from some place like a balcony at Grand Central at the rush hour Friday afternoon.” (Tom Wolfe). “O Rotten Gotham” argues that New Yorkers are in a state of behavioral sink. It would not be long before a “population collapse” or a “massive die off”. Throughout the article, Wolfe made his opinion clear. He believes everything New Yorkers go through is unhealthy and inhumane. Humans were compared to rats using the overcrowding, the ways of life, and the filth as examples.... [tags: New York City Literature Transportation Essays]
1150 words (3.3 pages)
- An Act of Courage Faced with the task of writing a paper on a specific act of courage my initial reaction was that of total uncertainty. Later that evening, as I lay in my bed watching television I pondered what topic to do for the paper. Then the sportscaster on the news began an interview with Jim Abbott a well-known major league pitcher. I thought to myself, this is perfect. Jim Abbott is a man who shows courage when the odds are against him. He is fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing professional baseball despite the fact that he was born without a right hand.... [tags: Courage Bravery Personal Narratives Essays]
3420 words (9.8 pages)
- What is Courage. What is courage. Is it the ability to prove yourself in war. Or the strength it takes to decide you will not fight. Is courage being yourself when you’re different from everyone else. Is it doing something that even your own father thinks you can’t do. Is courage synonymous with honor. Is it speaking up, even if doing so puts you in danger. Risking death for the person most precious to you. Or risking death for strangers. Is courage facing your fears, no matter how big or small they might be.... [tags: Definition Courage Corageous Essays]
2841 words (8.1 pages)
- Courage is a necessity to overcome fears and achieve a desired goal. Fear is something that exists in all of us. There is no hero or any particular courageous figure that is without fear. Being fearless is not required to be courageous, one simply has to look past or overcome their fears to possess this great quality. When overcoming fears and going against the norm, there are always risks involved. There are different types of risks that come about. Someone could risk life or limb, while others risk their reputation.... [tags: Character Courage]
995 words (2.8 pages)