Amelia Earhart Essay Questions

The slogan that appeared with a gauzy, doe-eyed photograph of Earhart in a white helmet was “Think Different.” (She thought of herself not only as different but as a special case to whom most ground rules didn’t apply.) Three Hollywood movies, starring Rosalind Russell, Diane Keaton, and Amy Adams, have told a version of her story, and a new one, “Amelia,” directed by Mira Nair, with Hilary Swank in the title role and Richard Gere as Putnam, will open in October. (All three books are being reissued this fall.)There were, in fact, other famous female aces in the early decades of aviation.The script is based on two biographies, “The Sound of Wings,” by Mary Lovell (1989), and Butler’s definitive “East to the Dawn” (1997); and on “Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved” (1999), by Elgen M. All of them were daring—some were said to be better pilots than Earhart—and many of them were killed and forgotten.

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As Guest later put it to her daughter, “It just wouldn’t do.”)Wilmer (Bill) Stultz, the pilot of the Friendship, who had defected from the Boll party, and Louis (Slim) Gordon, the mechanic, had done the actual flying, and Earhart tried to remind a besotted press and ecstatic crowds hailing her as “Lady Lindy” that she had really been just “a sack of potatoes.” In 1932, however, she legitimatized the title by flying the Atlantic on her own, becoming the first woman and the second person, five years after Charles Lindbergh, to do so.

(Congress awarded her honorary Major Wings that she wore with her pearls.) In 1935, she was the first pilot to solo across the Pacific—from Honolulu to Oakland—and to solo non-stop from Los Angeles to Mexico.

She achieved fame dramatically, in 1928, as the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane, the Friendship, albeit only as a passenger. She had planned to play the starring role herself, until her husband, a former British Cabinet minister, expressed his alarm (three women fliers, including a princess, had recently perished in crashes).

Railey was commissioned to find a substitute, and Guest stipulated that, ideally, she should be an aviator but, more important, “the right sort of girl.” (The wrong sort of girl was her rival in the race to Europe, Mabel Boll, a flamboyant former actress who was known as the Queen of Diamonds.

The plane, hyped as a “flying laboratory” (it wasn’t clear what she planned to test, beyond her own mettle and earning power), was shipped back to California for repairs, and, once Putnam had renegotiated the necessary landing clearances and technical support, she and Noonan set off again, on June 1st, this time flying eastward—weather patterns had changed.

A month and more than twenty-two thousand miles later, they had reached Lae, New Guinea, the jumping-off place for the longest and most dangerous lap of the journey.

The Electra’s fuel tanks could keep them aloft for, at most, twenty-four hours, so they had almost no margin of error in pinpointing Howland, about twenty-five hundred miles away.

Noonan was using a combination of celestial navigation and dead reckoning. Early on July 2nd, on a slightly overcast morning, about eighteen hours into the flight, Earhart told radiomen on the Itasca, a Coast Guard cutter stationed off Howland to help guide her down, that she was flying at a thousand feet and should soon be “on” them, but that her fuel was low.

Earhart also made or broke a slew of other records, and few Americans would not have recognized her in the street. He specialized in celebrity true-life adventure stories, and he had signed up Lindbergh to chronicle his flight to Paris for the (which paid him sixty thousand dollars), then turned the articles into a book that sold some six hundred thousand copies.

Her image was managed aggressively by Putnam, a scion of the publishing house G. Even before Putnam met Earhart, he had caught wind of the Guest project—and his next best-seller.


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