Writing styles used by the early Antarctic explorers, taking into account their unique situation and mental pressures.

Essay by aaron_johnstoneHigh School, 12th gradeA, May 2003

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Since the first appearance of human curiosity, the species has been exploring its

surroundings. It's a primitive urge that was born with the realization that horizons are not limits,

not boundaries, but penetrable veils which need only to be approached to be forced to retreat and

give up its secrets. As the 18th century AD drew to a close, man could barely point a gaze in the

direction of the unknown, for he had already walked, populated, and lived there. Mankind's still

intact thirst for the unknown, constricted and caged by the shrinking world it lived in, needed an

outlet. And so the self-proclaimed civilized world turned its eye toward a land previously only

seen from ships, a land so inhospitable and inapproachable that it had barely before been

ventured upon: Antarctica. As half-frozen men climbed off frozen ships, paper and pencil

recorded every exciting, frightening, painful, and occasionally glory-filled moment, revealing

both the landscapes of the continent and the characters of both the authors of the accounts and

their companions.

The remaining texts are those written as journals by members of expeditions, and it is

certain that it was performed painfully, as even in their tents the extreme cold must have tortured

their pencil-wielding hands. These men, while on separate journeys onto the forbidding

continent, all faced the possibilities of the same hardships, frustrations, joys and tragedies, each

recording those which they encountered as they saw fit. From a study of this literature, many

parallels can be drawn between them, as well as some noticeable differences.

As Antarctica began to be penetrated and knowledge of its conditions grew, there began a

race for the south pole. The thought of the glory involved with planting their countries' flag at

90° south was very luring for restless explorers, and in 1910...