Thursday, October 4, 2012

Post #2, Section #2 of Endurance

In the second section of Alfred Lansing's, Endurance, many things happened to the crew that one would assume would cause them to lose all hope.  Surprisingly, the majority of the men continued to have faith and showed little sign of discouragement.  In the start of this section, the men are traveling by foot across distances as far as New York to Pittsburgh, tugging the large amount of what was left of the ship.  Their typical dish consisted of seal blubber, something sounding far from appetizing.  To me, I would find it hard to keep my head up in this kind of a scenario but somehow they all manage to keep smile's on their faces.  At this point, they are sleeping in tents some even in the snow.  Not only are they not sad but they are happy even given their circumstances. 

It goes on to describe the personalities of the men individually, proving that it was possible to have flaws even with such outstanding optimism.  Shackleton was described as having this underlying fear of losing control, he looked at it as, him getting them into that situation which meant it was his responsibility to get them out.  Hudson was insecure yet self centered and oblivious to when he was being teased.  James was smart but in a book smart way that showed he was sheltered from being street smart and handy.  Shackleton carefully examined all these men so as to avoid any issues between the personalities he assigned them different tents. 

It was rare that the men talked about sex or anything other than survival and food for that matter.  All that was on their minds was the hunger they were experiencing.  Most of them noted in their journals that food became something that was all they could think about.  They killed seals mostly, but usually by hand since they were using the bullets in the rifle sparingly.  None of them were able to bathe but some men would use the snow to wipe off their face, some would keep the dirt using it as a defense against frostbite. 

In my opinion, one of the most significant things that happened throughout this section, was the Endurance sinking.  The men felt like that was the only thing left that tied them to civilization.  The presence of the Endurance could have been one of the aspects of why they had such optimism during the time leading up to the sinking of the ship.  It could have been the reason why they stayed sane.  This section showed a lot of strength among the men, enduring what they had to endure yet still keeping a positive outlook.  Motivation is what keeps them alive, motivation to live.


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  2. The ship really did seem to be a symbol of their connection to civilization, but even though it sank near the end of Part Two I felt the men seemed generally undeterred! I look forward to Part Three to see if there is any kind of degeneration in their motivation and functionality.