Edward Everett Hale’s story “The Man Without A Country” and Rudyard
Kiplings book Captains Courageous are both fabrications in which the main
characters, Philip Nolan and Harvey Cheyne both go through drastic
changes in both life and attitude. Each learns a different life lesson, but in
a way that is slightly unpleasant.
Philip Nolan, also known as the Man Without a Country, wishes to
never hear of his country again, and his wish is granted. He spends the
last 56 years of his life on the sea, never but once hearing of his country
and, as most of us do at some point, doesn’t realize how great a thing he
has until he loses it (pages 27-28). He makes this realization, that his
country, the United States of America, is wonderful and to be respected at
all costs. He becomes the most patriotic man (pages 32-33), along with
some help from a poem, that he begins to read aloud to the sailors during
some free time, about patriotism to a mans home (pages 17-18).
In Captains Courageous, however the rich and snotty, not especially
liked, Harvey Cheyne, son of a multi-millionaire, falls off an ocean liner en
route to Europe. He is found by the schooner “We’re Here”, where he is
told to do something entirely new to him: work for your money, or don’t, and
don’t eat. Taking a punch in the nose from Disko Troop (page 18) helps
Harvey to understand that the fishermen are serious in what they say, and
don’t believe what he says about his fathers wealth or the life he fell from.
His bloody nose helps to humble him, and he begins the process of
learning how to work for a dollar, which even his wealthy father, Harvey
Cheyne, Sr., agrees is better than anything Harvey can learn at school, or
anywhere else (page 131).
Both Harvey Cheyne and Philip Nolan learn important life lessons,
the hard and sometimes painful way; their arrogant attitudes, and self-
centeredness, completely disappearing, and they mature into men who
understand and value what they do not early on in their story’s. Their
experiences at sea changing their view of the world around them, in very
realistic, and believable ways, hopefully allowing us, the reader, to
understand these life lessons, without going through the same kind of
ordeals that Harvey Cheyne and Philip Nolan go through in these great
pieces of American literature.
Word Count of Essay: 403