`Right Stuff` Definition Essay
Their world was divided into those men who had the right stuff to continue the climb and those who had to be left behind (Wolfe 18 . Those who remained had a strong feeling of competition combined with the feeling of brotherhood . Almost a soldier 's brotherhood in a war fought against untested planes , mistakes , test pilots of the potential enemy and own shivers . Wolfe honors these qualities calling the perished pilots Cold War Warriors of the Heavens (Wolfe 352 . These warriors had something in their hearts that was nothing less than manhood
itself .there was something ancient , primordial , irresistible about the challenge of this stuff , no matter what a sophisticated and rational age one might think he lived in (Wolfe 22 . Wolfe 's tone becomes almost mystical when he writes of a young pilot ' experiencing an inexplicable bliss of coming out to the flight line while the sun was just beginning to cook up behind the rim of the horizon (Wolfe 28
It appears that the second characteristic is even more important than the first one . Many American pilots could become test pilots , but only few of them did . Except for excellent physical and mental abilities being a test pilot meant years of preparation and training and readiness to consciously take the risks of the profession . Their way of life made the test-pilots feel themselves members of a very elite club , similar to the knighthood of the past ages . Lances and plums ! I am a knight ! Come on up and fight ! Why hold back ? Knights of the Right Stuff (Wolfe 31
This sense of knighthood was hardly understandable to a civilian of that time and it is hardly understandable by a civilian now . Wolfe writes ironically that Khrushchev was right about one thing : when it came time to hang the...