Student Code: 2L1113602 The Man in the Water Final Draft “The Man in the Water” by Roger Rosenblatt, is based on a true story of a horrible plane crash. On January 13, 1982, a flight crashed into a bridge in Washing D.C., killing four motorists and 74 of the 80 passengers. One of the six survivors recounts his story of the man in the water. The purpose of this account is to show why it is important to put others before yourself. In places that chaos exists, there will always be people like Donald usher, Eugene Windser, Lenny Skutnik, and especially the unknown man in the water. The first three all did their part in risking their lives to get survivors to safety, but what the man in the water did, was above and beyond anything that the others did. “Every time they lowered a lifeline and floatation ring to him, he passed it on to another of the passengers. For at some moment in the water he must have realized that he would not live if he continued to hand over the rope and ring to others,” recalled the survivor. He willingly and knowingly gave his own life to save the other five survivors of the crash. The man, calm and confident, alert and in control, saved people as if it wasn’t a big deal, almost like his life didn’t depend on it. Rosenblatt described,”… it no failure at all, but rather something successful… And on that same afternoon, human nature-groping and flailing in mysteries of its own rose to the occasion.” This scene is very descriptive, especially in the accounts of the man vs. nature, a source of incredible strength, which was expected to win. Typically, when man comes up against nature, nature wins because man can’t stop it. The man in the water may not have been able to stop the plane crash, but he was able to save people from drowning to their demise, which thwarted the plans of nature in a sense. When Rosenblatt uses the term groping, he gives a sense
that it is even, nature is not in complete control of the man, making it a fair fight. Given the fighting chance, the man is able to subdue nature and save the people. Rosenblatt states, “he was a Everyman, and this proof that no man is ordinary.” An Everyman is a person that is an everyday citizen, so everyone in a sense. Rosenblatt uses the man as an example to show that anyone can be a hero because everyone is extraordinary. Disregard for his own life, fighting for the safety of others, the man loses his life, but not in vain. This is where Rosenblatt presents his strongest argument. The man committed the ultimate sacrifice, but no one can know why, because, “Like every other person on that flight, he was desperate to live, which makes his final act so stunning.” The man may have lost his life, but he didn’t lose the fight, as he was able to keep every other survivor from being taken down with him. Legs swimming, arms passing, he kept giving off his chance at safety to the next person. He, a man full of confidence, stood toe-to-toe with nature, making him the ultimate winner. From the beginning, the man knew that he was staring death in the face, and that it would eventually consume him, but he kept fighting, not stopping until he had saved everyone else. He only stopped when his body stopped, and he couldn’t breathe any more.