“The Pefect Storm” Essay, Research Paper
Life in The hands of Nature
The perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger presents the perception of risking one’s life, to earn money in order to survive everyday living; through the men who take that risk, their families who endure great emotional distress while they await for their arrival home, which is not guaranteed, and the men of the Coast Guard and the Air National Guard who anticipate disaster. In this book the risk taken by the fishing men baffled me. Yes, the money was good, but the risk seemed to out weigh the money. The men of The Andrea Gail all had their doubts of their last trip into the Atlantic, which would cost them their lives. Such tragedy can be a useful learning experience for those who survive. The perfect Storm also brought to my attention the mental state of one who is on the edge of life and death.
I learned a great deal about the fishing industry lifestyle from The Perfect Storm.
The men of the Andrea Gail risked their lives on every trip they set out on. They took this risk to support them selves and their families. One thing I would have accepted as a justification of this risk is if every catch resulted in a plentiful amount of money. There was no guarantee of how much one would bring home proving to me that the money was out weighed by the risk. It seems that those who take part in swordfishing have a sense of denial. They put aside the risks of the business and go on with their work.
When disaster does strike out at sea man is in the hands of nature, the most powerful force. There is only so much one can do to prevent a natural disaster. When one’s life is on the line the natural instincts of the body take over. When one is drowning they voluntarily hold their breath to prevent their lungs from filling with water. As they hold their breath the body is starting to feel the effect of too much carbon dioxide in the blood. At this moment it is said to be the “break point”. The body knows that as the carbon dioxide builds, time is running out, resulting in an involuntary breath in most cases flooding the lungs with water ending any chance of survival.
“A spasmodic breath drags water into the mouth and windpipe, and then one of two things happen. In about ten percent of people, water-anything-touching the vocal cords triggers an immediate contraction in the muscles around the larynx. In effect the central nervous system judges something in the voice box to be more of a threat then low oxygen levels in the blood, and acts accordingly. This is called a laryngospasm. It is so powerful that it overcomes the breathing reflex and eventually suffocates the person.” (Junger: P.181)
“The panic of a drowning person is mixed with an odd incredulity that this is actually happening. Having never done it before, the body-and the mind-do not know how to die gracefully. The process if filled with desperation and awkwardness, “so this is drowning,” a drowning person might think. “So this is how my life ends.
Along with the disbelief is an overwhelming sense of being wrenched from life at the most banal, inopportune moment imaginable. “I can’t die I have tickets to next weeks game,” is not an impossible thought for someone who is drowning.”(Junger: P.180)
To be optimistic, in such a situation, the lessons learned on how to prevent an event as drowning at sea from happening again is the only benefit from an incident of this sort. The men of the Air National Guard and the Coast Guard are the most beneficial of those who may take part in such an occasion. They learn from each attempted rescue they perform whether it is successful or not. These men also put their lives on the line.
I find their work more understanding opposed to the fishing industry because of the training they endure.
The Perfect Storm tells a true story of disaster. It brings to one’s attention the power of nature. The storm talked about in the book was indeed a perfect storm, which is proven by the scientific evidence given by Junger. This book has a great amount of meteorological information that describes the storm. I felt it could have been explained more clearly for those who are not familiar with the terminology. The author also brings you into the life of those in the fishing industry. I found this information interesting. I would suggest this book to those who enjoy informative non-fiction.
The Perect Storm By Sabastian Junger