Friday, October 12, 2012

Endurance: Post 3

     In the first chapter of section three, the men had just finished an exhausting struggle and were now left stuck with nothing to do but think.  On page 100 it states, "Many of them, it seemed, finally grasped for the first time just how desperate things really were. More correctly, they became aware of their own inadequacy, of how utterly powerless they were."  There ultimate goal at this point was to get themselves out, but unfortunately they felt powerless and felt that their was not even the smallest achievable objective to aim for.  Several of the men found Shackleton's attitude difficult to understand.  On page 103 it mentions, "But Shackleton was not an ordinary individual.  He was a man who believed completely in his own invincibility, and to whom defeat was a reflection of personal inadequacy.  What might have been an act of reasonable caution to the average person was to Shackleton a detestable admission that failure was a possibility.  This indomitable self-confidence of Shackleton's took the form optimism.  And it worked in two ways: it set men's souls on fire; as Macklin said, just to be in his presence was an experience.  They believed that this was what made Shackleton such a great leader and I can see exactly why they think that. 
     I really give the men a lot of credit and don't know how they were able to continue on dealing with such horrible circumstances.  On page 104, Greenstreet wrote: "The monotony of life here is getting on our nerves.  Nothing to do, nowhere to walk, no change in surroundings, food or anything.  God send us open water soon or we shall go balmy."  It is obvious that at this point during their expedition the men had finally had enough and were about to lose their minds if something didn't change.  I couldn't imagine having to sleep in such conditions where snow was on my face, feet on my stomach as Worsley had mentioned.  Many of the men did not understand why Shackleton made some of the decisions he did especially concerning food.  When Lees said something to Shackleton in chapter 3, Shackleton said: "It will do some of these people good to go hungry, their bloody appetites are too big."  I could not imagine being in such physical pain due to their shortage of food that caused many of the men a great deal of starvation. 
     I didn't even realize that there were actual pictures in this book until I was reading chapter three.  I thought it was neat to see a picture of the ice-locked Endurance on August 27, 1915 and the picture of the crushed wreck of the Endurance with the dogs that are left.  I especially liked the picture of Frank Hurley and Ernest Shackleton at the Patience Camp on the ice floes.  By seeing these pictures it just makes the story line of this book that much more real to me.  It is clear to see just exactly how motivation is used throughout their journey. It is their motivation that keeps them going rather than giving up at their weakest moments, the men continue to push their way through.


  1. I like how you pointed out the passage "Nothing to do, nowhere to walk, no change in surroundings, food or anything."
    Nowadays you will hear of people complaining about change. Change is good! Take it from the words of these men ...they are having the feeling of breaking down but they know that it is not an option.