How does The Right Stuff work as an example of rhetoric?
Rhetoric refers to the art of persuasion through writing or speech. The author or narrator would work to dispel conflicting notions and convince the reader or listener about the facts in a particular situation. The Right Stuff works to show rhetoric because it brings to light the propaganda involved during the space race especially between the United States and Russia. The author also presents a different picture of the astronauts and supports his opinions or observations with facts.
The narrative offers a glimpse into qualities “The Right Stuff” that pilots need to have to earn their position among their peers. Tom Wolfe who is the author asserts that it is virtually impossible to get the right stuff because it comes down to whether one has it or not. He informs the reader that not all the seven astronauts selected for the space mission had these qualities as it was portrayed in the media. He lashes out at the media and their involvement in the propaganda and their failure to bring out the facts about the astronauts. The focus within the media and in turn the general public was on the astronauts’ families and not their experience or expertise as fliers. The author further brings out some of the failings in the Mercury flights, information that was obscured by the hero worship of the astronauts at the time.