By M. Gallagher
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Additional info for Action Figures: Men, Action Films, and Contemporary Adventure Narratives
No visible, written, or oral evidence exists to flesh out the men’s final hours. Such is not a recipe for compelling narrative, but Junger pushes ahead, privileging the account’s “unknowable element” (xii). His rhetorical sleight-of-hand extends to his use of evidence: “I wound up sticking strictly to the facts, but in as wide-ranging a way as possible” (xi). While he professes to eschew conjecture, he asks readers to accept other seafarers’ accounts in place of his central subjects’: “I would interview people who had been through similar situations, and survived.
9) Ned thus implies that adventure, with its inherent dangers, guarantees self-renewal and stabilizes an unmoored male identity. ) One of Ned’s companions on the expedition, the aristocratic hunter Lord Roxton, identifies the attendant comforts of civilized society as a related source of Ned’s malaise: “ ‘a sportin’ risk, young fellah, that’s the salt of existence. Then it’s worth livin’ again. We’re all gettin’ a deal too soft and dull and comfy’ ” (53). Roxton, Ned’s idol, staves off this softness not only through big-game hunting, but by keeping exclusively male company.
213, Junger’s italics) Junger here calls on tropes of the uncanny: the men “didn’t die” but later had to be “banished” by others. The absence of bodies contributes to this view of men as enigmas. The book begins with the slightly wounded male body of Bobby Shatford and finally emphasizes the absence of all the crew’s bodies. Masculinity’s defining feature of the physical body disappears, and Junger relates the struggle to account for this absence. The Perfect Storm’s real achievement, perhaps, is its reversal of the terms of masculinity itself.