Monday, April 21, 2014

Who's Endurance is it Anyway?

For most of the novel, the endurance of the adventure was best portrayed through Shackleton and his ability to successfully lead his men, even when success was far from certain. However, following the marooning of Shackleton’s men on Elephant Island and the departure of Shackleton and five other men for South Georgia Island, the ability of the men to persevere on that small spit of beach was by far the greatest demonstration of endurance in the narrative. Perhaps this was because Shackleton was no longer the focus of the narrative during those months on the beach; however, I believe it was because each man began to develop an steadfast perseverance of his own. To be without one’s leader, without any knowledge of when or if one’s leader will return, without much knowledge of even one’s relative location on a map, and on an island that had never before been inhabited is pure isolation. Without their leader, all of these men were thrown into a cooperative leadership and their physical and mental endurances were strongly put to the test. Moreover, they amazingly suffered through their isolation valiantly, enduring hurricane force winds, blizzards, unending wetness and food shortages. Considering, that up to this point they had always had been lead, this demonstration of independence and perseverance by these leaderless men in the face of such adversity is testament to the iron wills and the steely endurance of these men, which, despite all of his fame and accomplishments, far overshadows the endurance of a naturally born leader, such as Shackleton.

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