The Man On The Motorcyle Essay

2321 words - 10 pages

When the first caveman made a bet with his buddy that he could outrun a sabertooth tiger, the legend of the daredevil was born. From then, it evolved throughout the ages, from sword swallowers to snake charmers, X-Games gold medalists to professional B.A.S.E. jumpers: every culture and time period had some sort of daredevil. These people routinely defy death to bring entertainment to scores of people, and hopefully a bit of fame and sustenance to themselves. In 1960’s and 70’s America, the greatest of them all was Evel Knievel. When Robert Craig Knievel was born into the small mining town of Butte, Montana, the world was a very different place from the world now. During Knievels childhood, the nation was enraptured with what came to be known as the “Roaring 50’s”. World War II had recently ended, and it seemed that almost every facet of America and the rest of the world was thriving. But in the small town of Butte, much of this had little to no effect on young Knievel. He was raised in a culture where the mental disposition of many of the people was “work hard, play harder”(Montville). This mentality that Knievel grew up around was conspicuous in many of his ventures later in life. Furthermore, the world began a form of cultural insurrection in the 60’s, as the children of the boom period began to grow up (“Boom-Time...”). People began to question and dispute the political and social norms that in been in place for many years. This decade saw the ascendancy of the individual to a social hegemony, as people began to become more forthright in their beliefs and way of living. This was the culture that formed Evel Knievel. As told in Evel: The High Flying Life of Evel Knievel, written by Leigh Montville, Evel was equal parts showman, daredevil, and above all, an American legend. As literary critic Alan Moore wrote about Montville’s 2011 work, “Montville fully imparts that sense of danger as well as Knievel's mixture of singularly unpleasant personalities - thief, drunkard, brawler, extortionist, womanizer, snake-oil salesman, all-purpose con man - that somehow only enhanced his legend” (Moore). Knievel was a pioneer for extreme sports, and captivated audiences all around the world with death defying stunts; furthermore, Knievel used his placement in popular culture to educate people about health and moral issues.
Robert Craig Knievel, one of the worlds most celebrated and well-known daredevils, was born to two absentee parents in the small mining town of Butte, Montana on October 17th, 1938. Butte was quite the town to grow up in, as it was known for frequent deaths in the coal mines and even more frequent drunken street brawls. For most of his childhood, Knievel was raised by his grandparents, Ignatius and Emma Knievel, after his parents split and left him and his younger brother Nic behind. From a young age, Knievel had a reputation around the town of Butte as a trouble maker. One such anecdote of his childhood tells of a day when Knievel used his...

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