Definition - Essay Example

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Tom Wolfe’s celebrated novel The Right Stuff (1979) narrates the story of seven US pilots who were central to the nation’s post-war experiments with space program and investigational high-speed aircraft. The story of The Right Stuff has been the result of Wolfe’s…
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Download file to see previous pages However, the novel is more illustrious for its definition of a key concept, ‘The Right Stuff’, which corresponds to some essential talents and qualities of the most elite that are associated with seven pilots including bravery, physical fitness, mental determination, patriotism, self sacrifice and willingness to risk one’s life.
According to Tom Wolfe, the concept of ‘The Right Stuff’ is a virtue of the highest order which includes some unique qualities. These talents and qualities break up the men from the boys and they include bravery, physical fitness, mental determination, patriotism, self sacrifice and willingness to risk one’s life.
In defining the concept of ‘The Right Stuff’, the author, first of all, connects it to the quality of bravery and it is background of military flight training that he demonstrates this specific element of the great concept. Thus, Wolfe, in the early pages of his book suggests that bravery is an “ineffable quality” which only people with ‘The Right Stuff’ can acquire. Conversely, one needs to comprehend bravery as something more than merely “being willing to risk your life.” (Wolfe, 17) In fact, bravery, to the author, refers to the unrelenting in pursuit of glory which is accompanied by steadiness and almost modesty.
Another chief component of the concept of ‘The Right Stuff’, according to Wolfe, is the patriotism of military pilots which distinguish them from the ordinary citizens of a nation. The author illustrates the self sacrificing patriotism as essential feature of this concept and he makes use of the combat experiences of the seven pilots as the best example of this concept. The altruistic self-sacrifice of these men is evident in their keenness to offer their service to the prosperity of the nation away from their families and friends and this feature corresponds to ‘The Right Stuff’ in them.
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