The Bird of Dawning: Case Study


The Bird of Dawning is a novel which dwells on the birth of a new leader known as Cyril. The action of the novel takes place in the English waters in the late 1980s. In the time of the birth of the new leader, the British had many outside relations, particularly with the Chinese. China is known to produce the best tea which the British have ever tasted. Thus, they have been addicted to tea. Because of the vast distance from Britain to China, the British built special ships, which were used to transport tea with its fresh qualities. It is the baseline of The Bird of Dawning. Masefield joined the navigation studying and managed to describe his love for the water with its remarkable beauty (Masefield, 2009).

In 1933, there was an unfortunate situation. The ship they were sailing sank. This ship was in the racing of the trade between London and China, the race of selling tea. On board of the ship, there was a twenty-two year old boy named Cyril Trewsbury. He was the second mate in the ship. Cyril was a skilled and forceful sailor. When the ship crashed, the crew was forced to abandon the vessel and sail on other smaller chain long boats. The captain of the ship had drowned with the other half of the crew. The following fact made Cyril take control over the situation and become the leader. After sailing for a short while, Cyril and the rest of the crew found an abandoned ship, The Bird of Dawning. Cyril commanded to use it to sail back home and to try to win the race. The crew was motivated by the presence of other rewards apart from the strong leadership of their new leader Cyril Tewksbury.

Purposely, there are many aspects which need to be evaluated by the point blank of the novel towards the development of leadership qualities and how to solve many crises in a situation like the one which the new leader and his crew were found themselves involved into. It is worth stressing that various aspects and means were applied to protect and define leadership qualities among the different types of people. On the one hand, on board of the ship, there were some honest, hardworking members on the other hand, it was very difficult to cope and work with others. However, the new leader, who was younger than almost other members of the crew, took the reins of leadership in order to save his crew and to win the race. Cyril was the only person who was skilled enough to sail and was able to lead the crew and the ship to the desirable aim and destination. Defining the point of guiding and bringing the Bird of Dawning to success in the race between London and China in the supply of tea is definitely the key point of interest for the young and ambitious boy. Cyril managed to cope with different hardships like insufficient food to eat or disagreements among the crew members when there were various misunderstandings. Learning how to deal with other people will help everyone to define the importance of becoming and being a leader among others. Therefore, the analysis of Cyril and his crew’s actions will provide the best platform for defining leadership qualities of a real leader and give solutions to difficult situations when there are not many options. 

Situational Analysis

Situational analysis is the general classification of the case pointing the necessary events, that might have happened in the given extract or case study with a main theme of study.

Looking at the many events, which have taken place since the drowning of the captain and half of the crew, the vessel is left without any leader. Cyril takes the leading position and orders the crew to be careful in all they are doing, especially with the sharing of food and water. The supply of food and drinking water is supposed to be divided for 21 days. They are going to reach Fayal in the Western Islands in 7 days in order to get some additional things needed to get to the final point of their destination. The significance of all these commands was to inform the crew members that they were in the waters where everything could be possible. Thus, they should be cautious in everything they are doing because their survival depends on their ability to perform survival practice skills in order to save their lives without killing others or jeopardizing their own lives. The following situation and ideas of Cyril are real evidence of the exemplarily leadership qualities of the young leader, who has taken leadership of the ship, The Bird of Dawning. All the crew members were told to search or present any food left, as well as to hand in their knives since they were not going to be of any use to them. A knife was considered an inseparable part of the sailor’s profession. A sailor without a knife was considered not professional since everyone was supposed to have a knife in the daily endeavors. Mr. Trewsbury decided that knives could be used as a means of survival in fighting for food and water.

The concept of surviving is a hard experience which they have to go through in order to survive in the open waters. Unlike sailing in the ship which they got used to in their sailing experience, the open boat was a quite different, new experience. There were too much sunlight, storms, strong winds, and changeable waters around. Fortunately, there were other people in the open boat that had experienced the exact situation before. They tried to apply their basic practices in order to help others survive storms, winds, starvation, and thirst. It is worth noting that Cyril did not only give orders but also tried to follow the suggestions and advice of others in their common struggle for the survival. A leader who is able to follow wise decisions can be considered a true leader who does his/her best in order to protect and save others. In the case of Cyril, a flexible leader who is able to make right decisions based on the commonality of information obtained from the right sources is presented rather vividly in the novel (Fitz-Henry, 1995). The following situation allowed Cyril and other members of the crew to disclose many hidden qualities, in particular leadership ones.

Cyril Trewsbury shows quality leadership skills, which can be used in various situations, such as keeping people alive with just a little amount of food, keeping them free of thirst even though there is no water, and trying to remain decent men.


SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a mechanism used to measure the necessary roles which are constantly changing over time in a given situation or place. In the concept of the shipwrecked of the long-run ship, the acronym SWOT means S- strengths, W- weakness, O- opportunities, T- threats. Therefore, in this situation, Strengths are the internal factors which can help them to survive in the present time of determining the concept of the saving themselves. Weaknesses are the internal factors which the crew and Cyril have to face. For example, mistakes may affect them completely if they cannot be careful or work in the process of saving themselves in order to survive the hardships while sailing in the open boat. Opportunities are the external factors which they cannot control. If they cannot use them or make maximum use of them, they will not be able to survive in the open sea. Threats include the external aspects which can harm or prevent them from fulfilling their duties, as it was during the storm.

Strengths in the following situations are: the leader who takes control over the situation; previous experiences of the crew members; necessary resources that can be used to make their survival possible, like matches for smoking or biscuits in the tank; and lastly, they allowed Cyril to influence them accordingly. The weaknesses observed in the context of the shipwrecking and the crew’s fight for survival were: fear of the future, hunger, thirst, and death; Cyril’s hesitations concerning his ability to command and control the situation; misunderstandings between the crew; and disbelieve in the possible survival. Opportunities in the situation were simply similar as in the case after the shipwrecking. There were experienced leaders who were able to guide people in the difficult situations. The leaders helped people in overcoming the dreadful death in the water. The Bird of Dawning raised their hopes for survival when the decision to sail on it was taken.

Threats which were merely external aspects are connected with the conditions of weather, and ships, as well as provision. The strong winds definitely threatened their lives, storms almost drowned them several times; thirst and hunger were also some of the many threats which almost killed the crew members, but they never gave up in the process of surviving in the open waters. The conditions of the ships were terrible, as well. The first ship had sunk earlier; the boat was inconvenient; the Bird of Dawning was far from a perfect condition, either.

In conclusion, the crew and Cyril managed to cope with all difficulties. The crew got an ideal leader who did his best to help them all to survive.

They had unity which made them surpass the situation, move on, and look forward to surviving and returning to their motherland. The importance and guidance of the leader in the difficult situations are supposed to be out of question. In this very situation, the only option to survive was to follow all commands of the leader (Hartwick Humanities in Management Institute, 1995).

Possible Recommendations for Future Actions

Looking into the future, there could be many situations in which the leadership skills of Cyril Trewsbury can be used to guide people how to survive. Therefore, the future leaders are supposed to be prepared in advance before they are encountered by the various situations in which they are able to guide others.

Leadership is supposed to show people how to do what they are wanted to be done. For example, Cyril told sailors to collect all biscuits or food they could find and hand in here knives to avoid bloodshed in the case there would not be enough food to serve everybody to satisfaction. In general, the crew members were satisfied with his leadership; although, in some cases, they did not share Cyril’s points of view concerning some things. In a case of a crisis, a leader should remain calm and try to create a united group of people who would work as one living organism while reaching the same goal.

Why could I use this type of mechanism to lead?

The application of the following mechanism allows showing people whom I am going to lead that they can trust me and that I can trust them, as well. Finally, I should clearly comprehend that I am responsible for every person when I am a leader. To bring about relationship equality, I should share and develop harmony and balance, which are the key aspects of leadership.

Order now

Related essays