Essay on The Right Stuff

Submitted By shawj19
Words: 1395
Pages: 6

Jack Shaw
Mr. Feely
American Lit/7
September 3 2013
Transitional Paragraphs The Right Stuff challenges the reader to consider the legacy of the “Original Seven”, and to also consider their own personal legacy through the adversity we are able to see these pioneers of space encounter. Tom Wolfe is able to give an interesting perspective into the astronauts as far as, what astronauts were considering the legacy they’ll leave behind and moments when they were not. Even Alan Shepherd had moments in which he was clearly not thinking about his legacy as Wolfe exposes the “goodies” involved with being an astronaut. Legacy is at times a very broad term. In the case of the first seven astronauts there are two clear dimensions to their legacy in which case it would be ignorant and naïve to ignore one or the other. The first dimension is the more obvious of the two: what these men meant to American history and what they did for our country. The second is a dimension that is sometimes overlooked by the public eye and is not always reported about through media coverage: as family men, what kind of legacy did these people leave behind? As actual people, what did they offer? Certaintly what they did for the American space program is a part of that but at the same time it wouldn’t be fair to all parties involved with the lives of these men to overlook their flaws. To illustrate legacy it is necessary to also consider what these first seven astronauts represented as leaders. Each astronaut has a defining moment that exposes what kind of leader they were and it is these defining moments that shapes and forms one’s legacy. Alan Shepherd and the prayer, John Glenn and his daily workouts and his media charm, with each decision and comment these first seven defined themselves as leaders and left behind a legacy to be followed. Something has to be said about the leadership of someone in the spotlight such as these hailed American heroes. Leadership, in the case of the first seven, was so much more then how they interacted with each other but more so how they were role models to an entire nation. When they volunteered for Project Mercury they accepted the responsibility to serve as leaders for the American people. How they conducted themselves in front of a nation was just as much a part, if not more then, their leadership within the seven of them. The heroic leadership displayed by the members of those first astronauts involved with The Mercury Project can be and was used as a model for improvement for not only future astronauts but leaders of any kind. Part of being a leader is the willingness to be put out there, being put into a comfortable situation or a difficult task for the betterment of others. Although a leader is often viewed as someone who might boss people around or have people serve him, the essence of a leader is someone who serves those around him. The reader is able to see this by the way the first seven astronauts put their lives on the line for the betterment of the US. Pioneers, the people who are the first to do something, are often leaders in that they are willing to pave the way for the future. They are willing to be used as an example, for good and for bad, for the people that will come after them and will attempt to learn from their triumphs as well as their mistakes. As they were thrust into the spotlight Tom Wolfe explores the pressure that came with being one of the “Original Seven” and the way that Americans looked at them as models of everything righteous and good about the great nation everyone should be proud to be a part of. The reader is also able to see that the majority of these men didn’t feel comfortable “saying a word” when in public or making an appearance where they were asked pressing questions from the media. These swarms of those who didn’t have the right stuff seemed to have no trouble asking about all of those topics that weren’t talked about among those climbing their way to the top of the…