Perfect Storm Essay

1231 words - 5 pages

The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger is an account of an immense storm and its destructive path through the North Atlantic. In late October of 1991, crews of several different fishing ships left their port for their final haul. Little did they know that they would soon cross paths with one of the greatest storms ever recorded. This particular storm would create huge swells, high winds, and hard rain. The system, was said to be a “perfect storm” because all of the elements were just right to create the worst imaginable storm ever seen, “… a hundred-year event,” claimed some meteorologists. These types of storms are caused when: “Warm air is less dense than cool air; it rises off the surface of the ocean, cools in the upper atmosphere, and then dumps its moisture before rushing back to earth. Huge cumulus clouds develop over the zones of rising air, with thunder, lightning, and terrifically strong rain. As long as there's a supply of warm water, the thunderstorm sustains itself, converting moisture into sheeting rain and downdraft winds. Other thunderclouds might line up along the leading edge of a cold front into a "squall line," a towering convective engine that stretches from horizon to horizon.” (The Perfect Storm Foundation)

The descriptions of fishing procedures and equipment are often confusing, they are a vital part of the plot. Which gives the reader a better insight to what these fishermen went though. Without these details, readers would not be able to picture the dangers of the storm the way Junger wanted them to. The book is interesting, but never melodramatic. There is just enough tension in the conflict between man and nature to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Junger never tries to saturate his readers with so much emotion that they roll their eyes in disgust. He makes the fear and desperation realistic and believable.

Junger achieves a delicate balance between the factual and fictional elements of the story. The front cover immediately states in bold letters that The Perfect Storm is a true story. Junger’s characters are extremely well developed. It becomes unimportant that Junger may have exaggerated about a character’s experiences. He allows readers to sympathize with Christina Cotter and fear for Bobby Shatfords safety. The thoughts and emotions of every character are stunningly real. My girlfriend pointed out that the book does not neglect to include the women who fish. Linda Greenlaw is the captain of the “Hannah Boden”. The boat that brings in the most fish on the coast. There is also Karen Stimpson, known to be one of the most experience sailors around. Sue Bylander is also a sailor and works with Stimpson as a graphic designer in-between fishing seasons. None of the three women are depicted as weak or hysterical during the storm. In contrast, it is Ray Leonard, the captain on the ship with Stimpson and Bylander that falls apart during the crisis. Greenlaw, Stimpson, and Bylander are strong and capable of...

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