The Tragic Relationships In October Sky By Homer Hickam

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In the book “October Sky”, by Homer Hickam, Sonny and his father Homer Sr. have a problematic relationship. Throughout the entire story, the reader sees constant arguing, a lack of communication, and a sense of neglect between the two. Homer Sr. chooses not to pay attention to Sonny and his rockets, and for most children this ignorance of an interest would be discouraging and bring them down. In Sonny’s case however, this strained relationship between him and Homer Sr. was actually beneficial to the progression of his rockets.
First off, Homer Sr. doesn't show much affection towards Sonny, which gravitates him to other adults who seem to care about him more. Throughout the story Sonny and his rockets are helped along by the adults of Coalwood,
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It all starts off when Sonny makes his first rocket, and blows up his mother’s fence. Elsie tells Sonny that Homer Sr. thinks that “ [Sonny] [will] be some sort of clerk working for [his] dad, sitting at a typewriter pecking out forms, or writing in a ledger about how many tons got loaded in a day. That's the best your father thinks you can do’’ (50). From this point on, both Sonny and Elsie want to prove to Homer Sr. that his assumptions about Sonny are far from right. Almost immediately after, Elsie says to Sonny “To get out of here, you've got to show [Homer Sr.] that you're smarter than he thinks” (51-52). Along with the drive inside Sonny to prove Homer Sr. wrong, he also realizes that his ticket to post secondary, and ultimately life outside of coalwood depends on his success. As the story moves along, Homer Sr.’s lack of belief in Sonny’s dreams is still apparent when he takes Sonny to the mine, because he thinks rather than a rocket scientist he could be an engineer. Sonny notices “[Homer Sr.] passed by all of our display preparations in the basement going and coming from the mine, but said nothing to me about them” (394) The fact that Homer Sr. never talks to Sonny about his rockets further proves he doesn't have any faith in his son's success. In the end, Homer’s disbelief only fired Sonny up, and was the fuel to his …show more content…
yet again, gets under Sonny’s skin. It is apparent to the reader what makes Sonny want to enter the Science fair “what truly pushed [Sonny] to enter the science fair was [his] anger towards [Homer Sr.]. If [Sonny] won the science fair, that would show [Homer Sr.] wouldn't it? [Sonny] could wave whatever medals and ribbons [Sonny] got under [Homer Sr.’s] nose’’ (270). The science fair was the biggest reason Sonny succeeded with his rockets, because he needed to work harder than he ever had before to prepare to enter the fair. For example, Sonny is so determined to get his rocket pieces ready for the science fair, that he tries to make his rocket on his own using the machines in the shop. Its this sort of outward determination to succeed at the science fair that greatly progresses his rockets. Once Sonny wins the County Science fair, he gains even more confidence in his work than before, and gains hope that he can maybe take the rockets to the National fair. He continues to work vigorously, and once he wins the area finals in Bluefield, Sonny knows he can continue on and win at the highest level; the national science fair. “Everyday after classes were done, [Miss. Riley] worked with [Sonny] on [his] presentation skills” (393). To sonny it seems as if his whole world revolves around his rockets, and the constant practicing and preparing only brings him closer to his ultimate goal of working for Dr. Von Braun. When Sonny goes to the national fair,

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