What comparisons can be made between Tom Clancy's real life and his character Jack Ryan in the story "The Hunt for Red October"?

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maryrenzi2001 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tom Clancy's life and the life of his fictional hero, Jack Ryan, have some things in common, while in other ways they vary greatly.  The obvious comparison is that Clancy, like his character Jack Ryan, was born and lived in Baltimore, Maryland.  But While Clancy received a degree in English Literature from Loyola College, Jack Ryan attended Boston College where he trained to become a commissioned officer for the Marine Corp.  Although Clancy did join the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corp at Loyola, he was never able to serve in the Army due to his extreme nearsightedness, and his focus in college was on the humanities rather than the military.

Jack Ryan, like his creator, did spend part of his (fictional) life in academia, in particular as a teacher at the Naval Academy, and we learn Jack Ryan spent some years working in the civilian world (also like Clancy, though Ryan was an investment broker, whereas Clancy was an insurance agent).  These smaller considerations aside, however, Jack Ryan in the world of "The Hunt For Red October" is a brilliant strategist and operative--he is a CIA analyst who spearheads a tricky and dangerous mission to lead a defecting Soviet sub to safety, and to appropriate its technology in order to safeguard America and her citizens.  He is a man of action and a hero, whereas Clancy is a common man who writes about larger-than-life characters such as Jack Ryan.

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The Hunt for Red October

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