American Military University
Defining "The Right Stuff"
In his novel "The Right Stuff", Tom Wolfe chronicles the early years of the United States' manned space program. Wolfe talks about numerous young military men devoting their lives to forwarding technology while mustering up the guts to do it again and again. These pioneers lead America through the developments of rocket-powered flight and ultimately succeeding in breaking the bounds of earth and fly in space. The men that accomplished this were of a special breed that required unique qualities called "The Right Stuff." The Right Stuff, as described by author Tom Wolfe, is meant to be talents and qualities of the most elite like bravery, physical fitness, mental fortitude, and raw talent. These men were capable of doing what it takes to get the job done under any condition and when everything is on the line.
Early in the book, Wolfe talks about an "ineffable quality that obviously involved bravery" (17). He then goes on to say that "not bravery in the simple sense of being willing to risk your life because any fool could do that" (17). In fact Wolfe says that this unique bravery involves a man risking his life yet "having the moxie, the reflexes, the experience, the coolness to pull it back in the last yawning moment and then to go up again the next day" (17).
Without talent, none of these pilots would have made it to the ranks of the elite. Wolfe writes about pilot training when those who remained and weren't left behind "could gaze at length upon the crushed and wilted pariahs who had washed out" (21). Wolfe writes at great lengths about the premier test pilot, Chuck Yeager. After a North...