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Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

Updated on May 14, 2012

Tom Wolfe’s book is one of the most exhilarating stories in the American history, it covers the lives of the first astronauts in America. The book captures the late 1940’s a time when the Americans were discovering a number of things including test pilots. During this period, the country was recovering from the Vietnam War and most citizens’ would not want to hear anything about heroism, adventure or discovery especially if it had to do with complicate and dangerous machines. However, Tom Wolf’s story brought back laughter and a light touch to the war and military field. The title of the book “The right Stuff” brings out the themes in the story which outlines the true life of astronauts and the type of personality someone should have to become a successful astronaut.

The first definition of “Right Stuff” according to Tom wolf’s story is the astronaut, an astronaut need to be tough, daring, brave and strong. In the absence of such personality which are regarded as the right stuff for an astronaut, it would not be easy for one to venture into the profession. In this context, astronauts were faced with difficult situations and did not have societal support leave alone the governments. They were equipped with the role of dealing with dangerous machines, had to live fast lives, had not undergone proper and sufficient training, lacked safety precautions and in fact flew in machines that were not airborne. All these would happen if someone had the “right stuff”, otherwise, they would cowardice and would not even venture into the daring profession.

Secondly, having the “Right Stuff” involves going against all odds in a bid to fulfill one’s goals and ambitions. To achieve one’s goals’ it is necessary to have self confidence, knowledge and zeal amidst all odds, these are considered as the right stuff. According to Tom Wolf’s book, the astronauts had anachronistic courage, during this period; most Americans were against the heroism craze and considered it unfashionable. Generally, the society was not supportive of such initiatives as flying into the air or engaging in dangerous missions that would endanger life. Moreover, during the same period a number of American soldiers had been captured by Iraqis and this fact had brought sorrow to most Americans.

There are some things in if lives that are looked upon, for example, most families would not support their sons to become nannies. On the same not, daughters would be discouraged from joining such professions’ as the military, recently there has been concerns of putting army women on the front line in times of war. To overcome such stereotypes, an individual should be in possession of the right stuff, otherwise if such a person does not have the right stuff they would not dare to venture into the said profession.

The word right stuff is used in several occasions and means different things. To a young person “The right Stuff” would imply such things as beer, cool music, right and influential friends, flashy cars and so on. On the contrary, “The right Stuff” to an old person would imply peaceful life, wise spending, great accomplishment in life , wise friends and the religion .Tom Wolf’s book on right stuff ,gives more focus on one’s personality in achieving set goals and aspiration in life.

Right Stuff Tom Wolfe


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