Daniel Beyene English 101 Instructor: Dela-Cruz 02/27/2012 Heroism Roger Rosenblatt in his essay “The man in the Water” describes how the heroic passenger in the air crash was determined to put his life on the line to save others. The man in the water dedicates all his strength to save the others in the water, handing over the lifeline and rope each time it was given to him. Even though there were other three acknowledged heroes at the scene, Rosenblatt focuses on the anonymous man and every detail of the essay emphasizes his heroism because he was brave enough to risk his life so others could live.
In the end, he states that the man did his part of fighting the endless fight between the forces of human and nature. Then, he teaches us a powerful lesson, “…he was likewise giving a lifeline to those who observed him” (par 8) to all concerning the power of human nature and leaves us with a big question in our mind: “What have you done lately? ” “As disasters go…” (Par 1) Rosenblatt compares the disasters that had happened so far with this one in particular. “It was terrible but it was not unique among the worst in the rosters of U. S air crashes. He also mentions that accidents and death always surprise us even though we knew it could happen sometime in our life span. His comparison shows as that he is going to tell us something we have to pay attention about this particular event. He leads us to the fact that makes this event significant and worth awareness. Next he says, “And there was the aesthetic clash as well—blue-and-green. Air Florida, the name of the flying garden, sunk down among gray chunks of ice in a black river. ” This part of the context denotes another aspect that makes the event very interesting.
He points out that the clash between the plane and the water was also a collision between colors: the blue-green color of the plane and the gray and black color of the ice and the river. This method of painting the event using an aesthetic approach (If we turn it one way we see one colorful pattern; if we turn it the other way we see yet another), makes Rosenblatt an artistic writer. This technique makes his work more attractive and helps us (readers) to pay attention to it. As he continues describing the incident, Rosenblatt says, “Last
Wednesday, the elements indifferent as ever, brought down Flight 90. ” (Par 2) The force of nature (bad weather), not caring or having no concern of the damages that it might bring as a result of the blast, made Flight 90 to fall down. That’s true. Nature has never cared for what it brings about. We can’t reason with it nor have we control over it. We, definitely, can’t plea to its ‘humanity’. All we can do is to prove ourselves that we will never give up or surrender. For example, volcanoes will break out when they are good and ready regardless of how much loss of lives or property we might encounter.
He also describes the agony and struggle of human nature to grab the floatation rings and save their lives, and the miserable battle in the icy water. In fact, some of the victims were observed to fight with the difficult situation to save their own selves; and others fought to save the disadvantaged; all fought showing or using their capacity against nature. On the other hand, Rosenblatt tells us that out of the four heroes; only the three lived and were able to give their alibi about what they went through to save the survivors. One of the rescuers, Skutnik said, “Somebody had to go in the water. He meant somebody, including himself, had to respond with humanity to that life threatening and time sensitive matter. Skutnik was among the observers and when he saw one of the victims who was exhausted and lost her grip of the lifeline then plunged in to the icy cold water, he jumped in to the water and brought her safely to the shore. Rosenblatt’s phrase, “Delivering every hero’s line…” enables us to understand that there are too other courageous, self-sacrificing people out there, who would never feel pity to die with pride doing what it takes to save someone in need.
But the man in the water is unmatched. Rosenblatt now sets the man apart as the only and most important person who held responsible for this potentially traumatic event (Par 4). The man is different from the rest of the rescuers of the day and from us all in that he kept pushing his lifeline and floatation rings to others until he went under. As he was described by Usher and Windsor, park police helicopter team, he gave his chances of being saved to the other passengers who were then carried up in to the helicopter. “In a mass casualty, you will find people like him,” said Windsor.
But “I’ve never seen one with that commitment. ” At this point, Windsor distinguishes the man in the water from other people who are likely to be called heroes. According to Windsor, there can be similar heroes during disasters, but the man in the water is certainly looked up to by the whole nation for his strong sense of responsibility: performing this worthwhile kindness. I like Rosenblatt’s style when he says, “His selflessness was one reason the story held national attention. ” These kinds of heroes, who go out of the norm and put their lives second for the well-being of others, are hard to find.
From my own experience, I remember when I gave blood to save my sister when she had undergone surgery ten years ago. I am not surprised at what I did to save my sister’s life but the saddest story behind it. My sister was admitted to a hospital a week before Christmas day. Her illness got so severe that the doctors decided to do an emergency surgery or she would die. When I was informed that in order for the surgery to be performed effectively blood donation was needed, I was traumatized. It was Sunday, Christmas day, when every office was closed and many employees took a long vacation.
I looked everywhere: Red Cross, Blood Bank, and other places to get blood; but none of them were open. Then, I gave as much blood as I could give for the operation and saved my sister’s life. Also, the author stresses, “The fact that he went unidentified gave him a universal character” to tell us that the man represents each one of us. He makes us to feel that it might have been any one of us. By using the term “Everyman”, Rosenblatt demonstrates the man in the water as an ordinary person, symbolic of human race. I believe, there are things we must do to help each other.
But there is many things that would be beyond a person’s moral obligation to do which refer to the heroic acts which we call “above and beyond the call of duty,” acts that are valued but not strictly required. But “Everyman” proved his amazing performance by caring more to the others and less to him during the incident. The language Rosenblatt uses to put the devotion of the man in the water is very touchy when he says, “For a moment in the water…when the helicopter took off with the last survivor, he watched everything in the world move away from him, and he deliberately let it happen. The man passed the lifeline to the others next to him; and he was fully aware that in the end he will be left to die. He must have known how much energy he had left and how much longer he could wait in that situation. But he didn’t care and kept on preserving the others who were desperate to live. There can be uncountable courageous heroes who are willing to sacrifice to save their loved ones. But the man in the water is above and beyond we can imagine. He let himself die losing his own future in order to help others whom he had not even known before.
Again, says Rosenblatt, there is something more that we have to bear in mind concerning the man in the water. “He was there in the essential, classic circumstance. ” The disaster happened that day was a model that could happen in our lives at any time. And whenever natural disasters happen human beings normally respond back to compensate the failures. We can always find such a hero in these kinds of conditions. Moreover, when Rosenblatt says “So the timeless battle commenced in the Potomac”, he refers to the ceaseless battle, between human and nature that has been there for ages.
The fight that has stretched for decades and centuries to save humanity and preserve habitats here on Earth. According to this expression, Rosenblatt brings up that our existing situation is the greatest achievement of our continuous victory over nature. We have grown fighting to cope up with nature. On the other hand, “The one…acting on no principles, offering no lifelines; the other acting…wholly on principles and faith” infers that nature is in different about what is best for human. It’s an undeniable fact that nature has its own way.
Everything in nature has its own natural rhythm over which no one has control. For example, days and nights come and go on their own. Also Rosenblatt denotes that nature has no moral principles as humans do. People care and love while nature doesn’t. People treat people as they want to be treated. In the last paragraph of his essay, “Everything in nature contains all the power of nature” indicates that the man in the water used his natural power, handing lifeline to a stranger, to fight the power full (nature) back.
The phrase, “He fought it with charity” is more spiritual because it shows that the man in the water battled the injustice with devotion by giving his only life. And the author reminds us all that the sacrifice of the man did not definitely mean we are defeated. He rather assures us that even though the man did not exist anymore, he was able to make others live. His heroism to confront death with full courage should make us proud of him. To conclude, at the very end of the essay Rosenblatt said, “The man could not make ice storms….
But he could hand his life over to a stranger. ” to indicate the magnificent performance of the hero. This truth seems to test us if there is something wonderful we did that impressed the world because that’s what makes us ‘Everyman’. How many great problems have we solved to make life meaningful? How many accomplishments have we achieved to benefit humanity that makes us feel good about ourselves? Works cited Roger Rosenblatt. “The Man in the Water. ” Time. January 25, 1982, PP. 86.