The Sound of Wings

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The men and women of the Italian Renaissance insisted that the most important objective for any person was to be remembered--famous or infamous, it mattered little. If such is indeed the case, then there is no doubt that Amelia Mary Earhart was an overwhelming success. Even now, more than fifty years after her disappearance in the Pacific, hers is a name easily recognized.

Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, to Edwin and Amy Earhart. Her father was a lawyer in Kansas City, and Amelia and her sister Muriel grew up in rather comfortable circumstances. Unfortunately, this sheltered existence was soon disrupted by her father’s alcoholism--an illness which produced tension within the family and a decided impact on the family finances. In consequence, Amelia became intolerant of failure and determined to succeed in spite of the barriers created by her gender and the lack of a stable financial base.

In 1920, Amelia found her greatest satisfaction in flying airplanes--receiving a flying certificate in 1923. Although she was, at best, a rather indifferent pilot, she had the good fortune to be asked to accompany two men who proposed to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Admittedly, Earhart’s flying skills were such that she contributed very little to the actual crossing, but such a distinction was little noticed by the media. Passenger or no, she was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. She parlayed that achievement into...

(The entire section is 409 words.)