Francis’ Lost Expedition

Among the many articles chronicling the history of man’s greatest successful expeditions are also the harrowing stories of failure and doom. The lost expedition of Sir John Franklin remains one of the most mysterious of these stories, and to honour it is to properly document the story.

A real story has facts and emotions tied to it that can be brought together through a concept idea. For an audience of any story, it helps for them to know the theme and concept of what they’re getting into.

This is no different for the story of Sir Franklin and his infamous failed expedition. To explore Sir Franklin and his crew’s story is to understand that the story extends past the mysteries and into the investigation. Without further ado, below is a statement that might be a valuable concept idea to properly tell this story.


Lead, into madness.


Nothing is perfect, but the point of this exercise is to address the elements that make an interesting concept idea. With a concept idea based around the content of this article, the following conversation will be focused on examining if this concept idea meets the the criteria that makes it both interesting and valuable to convey a story with.

Is this concept idea specific to the topic at hand? Certainly. The fate of the expedition is still argued about, but an agreed upon piece of the evidence for the disaster is lead poisoning. Among the ill effects of lead poisoning are the emergence of madness like emotional behaviour, such as violence and irrational decision making. Sir Franklin literally lead his crew into an environment with circumstances that most likely led to madness among some or all of the crew.

Is this concept idea too vague? Perhaps, but with a basic level of context probably not. The statement is only three words, which lends itself to a level of interpretation that might be avoided with additional information. However, the statement serves as the concept for the story and the above concept idea illustrates that there is a simply relationship at hand: the expedition crew was lead, and in these circumstances lead to madness. A possible improvement for this might be including how madness occurred (lead poisoning through the lead pipes making up the ships water distillery equipment), but with that comes the decision of choosing to blame leadership or to blame the equipment.

Are there lists produced in this concept idea that, or in other words are there ambiguous terms being used? Arguably no. The lead/lead element is probably the most clear and understandable aspect of the statement, and the term madness may not be as clear. The question now is: is the term madness ambiguous enough that an audience member will begin to make lists in their head regarding possible meanings? To those who do create this type of list for madness, it might actually help understanding the story. Madness for Sir Franklin’s crew most likely included a number of different ‘madness like conditions’ (disease, illness, emotional), which compliments the ambiguous nature of the term madness.

Does the concept idea choose a position? Yes. The used of the lead/lead term relationship is used to illustrate that the fate of the expedition’s crew is simply mysterious and will probably never entirely be understood. Can we attribute the entire failure and odd actions of the crew on lead poisoning or perhaps to the leadership of Sir Franklin himself? Where does the blame rest for this disaster? Nobody truly knows how events happened, and that’s simply how this story should be understood: as mysterious.

Finally, does this concept idea avoid cliches? Yes. The specific composition of the statement (as discussed earlier) helps make the statement easier to understand it’s relationship to the story. One possible cliche someone might argue could be in the words into madness, which has been used elsewhere to create the visual idea that madness is something you descend into. However, when combined with the rest of the statement this changes this idea towards something like a transition of one element into another. Lead poisoning/ Leadership into the conditions associated with madness.


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