Form and Content
Chuck Yeager’s autobiography is unusual if not unique in the variety of voices employed to describe his life. While most of the basically chronological tale is told by Yeager in the first person, many sections are told in “other voices.” While these “other voices” speak of themselves in the first person, they are more biographical (about Yeager) than autobiographical (about the individual authors). While Leo Janos’ role as coauthor is obscured (and often ignored) by the designation of “autobiography” and by the various first-person writings, he is most likely responsible for the overall unit of time, tone, and theme that emerges despite the variety of voices.
While the term “chapter” is not used, the thirty-three divisions listed by their individual titles in the table of contents clearly function as chapters. The first, “Always the Unknown,” relates a life-threatening flight that occurred the day after Yeager broke the sound barrier. This short chapter is written in the present tense, printed in italics, and out of sync with the chronological order that dominates the rest of the work. It is the second chapter, “Starting from Scratch,” that tells of Yeager’s birth and upbringing in West Virginia.
The third chapter relates his enlistment in the Army Air Corps, his pilot training, and how he met the woman who would become his wife. Near the end of the chapter is the first subheading of “Other Voices: Glennis...
(The entire section is 533 words.)