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Eng 102 - the Right Stuff Written by Tom Wolfe

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Monica Barnes

Mr. Kelly Mink

English 102

June 2011

The Right Stuff

"The Right Stuff", written by Tom Wolfe gives a close enough description of what the first Astronauts went through before and during the selection process of Mercury astronauts. Tom's Wolfe tells a story of seven all American military pilots that pioneer into the unknown. These pilots were chosen because they had the right stuff. They all knew the risk they were taking as they rode in their capsules into space. These pilots were not just any pilots but men with the potion that labeled them with the right stuff. The pilots had both character and ambition to obtain the right stuff. What is, "the right stuff"? Mr. Wolfe briefly describes the right stuff as, an undeclared almost indescribable set of virtues and abilities than only few can achieve. I believe all these pilots were very ambitious to try and achieve the impossible without having any regards to their safety. Ambition and conditioning, bravery are characteristics traits that all pilots require to achieve their goals." The pilots would endure many tests, only the elite would make the cut.

Having the bravery to open horizons of all of the unimaginable in outer space were those who had the right stuff. They had the bravery to discover the unknown without a fear in their bone. The pilots that were given the choice to except the space program, they only had one thought on their mind, "I must not get... left behind." (Wolfe 66) These rocket pilots were risking their life day after day beating every known human record for altitude and speed and manipulating their craft to unthinkable levels. These guys were the cream of the crop. They were looked at like supermen. Mr. Wolfe does not spare any details of the pilot's humiliation to some of the examination selection process. Only supermen could endure all of the examinations of their selection process and training. "Not all the wealth in the world or all the sophisticated nuclear weapons and radar and missile systems it could not buy would take the place of those who had the uncritical willingness to face danger, those who, in short had the right stuff." (Wolfe 30)

There is no hesitation that courage is one of the qualities that separates those with the right stuff from those without it. Defining courage is doing or taking dignified action, in spite of a fear, much like a soldier experiences, when on the battlefield. Courage is integrity, dignity and bravery, being assertive and bold enough to say or do what is wanted or not wanted or like to do, but know it is right and it is the best action to take, and once it is taken, the fright disappears. Wolfe tells how it took courage for these seven pilots to encounter



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