Explorers Heroes

Sir Ernest Shackleton

by Tim from Vermont

Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922)

When we think of explorers, we think of someone who is brave and adventurous. When we think of heroes, we think of someone who is brave and helps people. We usually think of heroes and explorers as different kinds of people, but one person can be both. Sir Ernest Shackleton is a great example. Shackleton was born in Ireland in 1874 and died in 1922 going to Antarctica. No one knew that he would grow up to be a hero with three great qualities: adventurousness, determination and leadership. Shackleton traveled on three expeditions to the Antarctic and led two of them. His first time was with Captain Scott who was not a good leader. He was very cruel to his men. It is Shackleton's third expedition to the South Pole that is his famous one. That is the one when his ship, the Endurance, got stuck in the ice.

Shackleton's first quality was adventurousness. The first time that he demonstrated this quality was when he dropped out of school to work on a ship headed for South America. The second time he demonstrated this quality was when he went to Antarctica even though the whalers on South Georgia Island recommended that he not go. They said that it was still ice. The third time he demonstrated this quality was when he tried to cross a continent that humans had only visited a few times and none had ever crossed. That takes adventurousness, as well as determination.

Shackleton's second quality was determination. Shackleton had to be very determined or a lot of people would have lost their lives. My first example of when Shackleton demonstrated this quality is when he left Elephant Island in a little ship. Elephant Island is the island that he and his men went to after they lost the Endurance. He went in a small boat called the James Caird in the roughest seas with a crew of only a few men. They were going to South Georgia Island, the same island they stopped at before going to Antarctica. My second example is when he crossed South Georgia Island with the same men. The island has a lot of mountains. They had to cross them to get to the whaling station where they could get a ship, so they could go back and save the men on Elephant Island. My third example is when Shackleton went back to England to get a ship to sail back to Elephant Island and pick up his men. He was determined not to let any of his men die.

Shackleton's greatest and most famous quality was his leadership. My first example of this is when Captain Scott appointed Shackleton leader of a three-man group to try to reach the southern most point of the earth. Since Captain Scott was the captain, this appointment meant a lot. My second example is when his crew on the Endurance trip got depressed, he would give them extra food to cheer them up. When they were camped on the ice, Shackleton served his men tea in bed. My third example is that, out of the two expeditions he led (and the one that he died at the beginning of), a lot of the crew chose to be with him and were on all three expeditions. They were willing to go through extreme hardship again with him. Now that's a good leader.

I think that we should remember this hero with the three great qualities of adventurousness, determination and leadership. When some explorers think it's hopeless, they will just say, "Shackleton," and that gives them new strength.

Page created on 4/28/2005 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/28/2005 12:00:00 AM

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