Top Man by James Ullman

Essay by Punjabi-Bl00dzJunior High, 9th gradeA, October 2009

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Compare/Contrast Nace and Osborn"Top Man” by James Ramsey Ulman is a fantastic story. In this story eleven determined climbers attempt to climb Kalpurtha (also known as K3), a mountain in the Himalayas. This is located in British India as the fourth highest peak in the world. No one has ever reached the top of the mountain and as these eight climbers attempt to climb the mountain two climbers, Martin Nace and Paul Osborn, show great determination and courage but showed a difference in their approach to the mountain and patience. As Nace and Osborn continue to climb K3 they can be very different and similar at times.

Nace and Osborn show determination in common. This has been Nace’s sixth time climbing the mountain after his friend, Furness, died, and this is going to be Osborn’s very first time climbing the mountain. As these two men want to conquer the mountain, they risk their lives at some point.

In the story when Nace was on the ridge and was about to fall off, Nace jumped to a side to save himself and a few others. As the two mountaineers started to reach the top of the mountain they still kept on going even though there was not enough oxygen. When Nace died saving Osborn’s live, Osborn kept on going till he reached the top of the summit because when he reached the top he put the ax on the top that had Nace’s name engraved in it. As Nace and Osborn climbed the mountain they showed great determination.

Another similarity that Nace and Osborn displayed was courage. When Osborn was at the top of the mountain and could have killed himself, Nace was the only one person who saved Osborn by risking his own live. Another time when the two main characters showed courage was when Osborn decided to climb the mountain by himself and even though he knew he was risking his own life, he still kept on climbing the mountain. When Nace and Osborn were climbing the mountain they showed a lot of courage.

Nace and Osborn show quite a few similarities but they also share several differences. One difference between the two men is their approach to the mountain. When the two mountaineers needed to know how to climb the mountain, Osborn wanted to go straight but Nace wanted to go in a zig zag movement because “Nace knows the traverse is longer, but he seems certain it will be much easier for us” said Frank (page 100). Another difference between Nace and Osborn was when the snow was starting to come down a lot, the older man said to wait so that we do not slip and fall but the younger man wanted to keep on climbing even though they could be risking their lives. Overall when the two main characters were climbing the mountain they had different ways to approach it.

The main difference between these two mountaineers is patience. As Nace and Osborn continue to climb the mountain, Nace wanted to go slow and steady but Osborn just wanted to keep going. Also when is started to snow Nace said “better give it another day or two”, “why” asked Osborn, “It’s generally safer to wait until….” said Nace, “Wait! Wait! Don’t you ever think about waiting” Osborn said (page 102). Another time was when Osborn wanted to the sleeping bags right away Nace decided that they should wait until they get used to the temperature. When the two mountaineers were climbing the mountain they had a different pace of climbing Kalpurtha.

Although these two men showed similar and dissimilar traits, “Top Man” is a story that demonstrates a lot of teamwork which Nace and Osborn showed. Even though Nace and Osborn did not get along that well they still tried there best. In the story the “Top Man” is Nace because he is smart, friendly, and reliable and has good leadership qualities. If you could have learned something from this story and that is working together will help prevent any damage.

Bibliography:Ullamn, James Ramsey. “Top Man.” Elements of Literature Third Course.

Ed. Robert Anderson, et al. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1989