Man Versus Nature

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade August 2001

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For as long as man has walked the Earth, he has engaged in a constant battle with the forces of nature. Whether it may be an expedition to the summit of Everest or the taming of a wild tiger, man has continuously challenged, and attempted to control the uncontrollable elements of his environment.

Surfers drop in to the twenty-foot breakers of the banzai pipeline on the north shore of Oahu. Men armed with high caliber rifles storm through the African wilderness hunting lions. Mountaineers take on summits like K2 and Everest for a chance to stand on the top of the world. Throughout history, men have considered themselves worthy of such challenges. Believing themselves to be just about invincible, their egos inflated from decades of technological achievements and a false sense of superiority. Nonetheless, some men have a sense of respect for the awesome forces the planet has to offer and some, on the other hand, have a complete lack of such respect.

Take, for example, The Open Boat by Stephen Crane. It is the tale of a group of shipwrecked men. They are attacking the rough seas in a ten-foot dinghy and have probably never felt as insignificant as they do now, climbing one monstrous wave only to drop down and be faced with another. It is a battle of man versus nature in its purest form. A physically and mentally draining fight for survival ensues as each time they move closer towards the shore, they are pulled back out to sea. "If I am going to be drowned - if I am going to be drowned - if I am going to be drowned, why in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the sea, was I allowed to come thus far and contemplate sand and...