Test Question 4: In a 5-paragraph essay, compare and contrast concepts
of leadership found in Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
(Alfred Lansing) and the Star Trek novel Avenger (William Shatner).
and Avenger are two books I read this summer featuring Captains
in positions of leadership. Kirk, Picard, and Ernest Shackleton are all
legendary figures, although only Shackleton was real. Kirk and Picard
are the fictional captains of starships in the Star Trek television and
movie series (and books), while Shackleton was a real man who led a failed
trip to Antarctica and then kept his crew alive while trapped in floating
ice and then on an island for a total of over eighteen months. All three
are leaders, but there methods are an interesting thing to compare and
is the story of how Shackleton's expedition to cross Antarctica, a feet
that had never been done. His hopes were dashed and those of his crew
when there ship became entrapped in heavy ice. For months they drifted,
helpless, then there boat was crushed by the ice flows. Then they lived
for months on the ice, until it broke up and they took to the live boats.
After the crew was marooned on lonely Elephant Isle, Shackleton took off
with five of his best sailors in one live raft on a 800-mile trip to get
help. Incredibly, he made it, and everyone was saved. Shackleton's leadership
is clearly responsible for keeping his crew alive. He is described as
cautious and protective of his crew, for example he doesn't like them
to go out on the edges of the ice flows because he's afraid they'll fall
off. But in the two times when he has to "live dangerously"
he does it (when he separates the boats and when they go sliding down
the main character is James T. Kirk, who interestingly is also the character
played by the author in the old television show. Also Jean-Luc Picard
plays a role, the captain from The Next Generation. The two men are very
different, for example, Picard is described as being cautious, a man who
listens to and looks out for his crew before making a decision. Kirk is
more like "shoot first, ask questions later" and feels like
he belongs to an old age where people did things more dangerously. He
thinks people depend too much on there starships and all there technology,
and they should rely on themselves more.
two books, it's almost like Shackleton combines some of the best traits
of both Kirk and Picard. He is both cautious and uncautious depending
on the situation. Also, he depends on the ship and is a good sailor, but
he also pulls through after there ship is crushed in the ice and sunk.
Interestingly, all these captains at some point lose there ships (although
not necessarily in the books): Shackleton in the ice, Picard at Viridian
III, and Kirk when he sets the auto-destruct because the Klingons have
taken over. But all go on to battle even greater threats, and even without
there ships, there leadership triumphs.
and Avenger show us different images of what is leadership, both
similar and different. They tell us that leadership is a combination of
caution and knowing when to "just do it". Also they rely on
there ships but there leadership doesn't depend on the ship there in.
The leader is someone who's strength comes from within. I found it most
interesting that the real person (Shackleton) was the one who combined
the traits of two fictional ones (Kirk and Picard). Perhaps the author
(Shatner) was trying to illustrate the concept of leadership learned from
such real-life examples as Shackleton.