In Rocket Boys, discuss the significance of the characterization of Homer, Sr.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In true scientific fashion, there is no easy answer to how Homer, Sr. is depicted.  Homer is a traditional father.  He is not the most emotionally expressive or supportive of men, but given the time period, he conforms to what men were supposed to be.  Homer is compassionate in how he supports his workers and believes in the mission of the mine to the people of Coalwood.  He is not entirely supportive of his son, but this is also because Sonny is embarking on a path that is not traditional of boys in Coalwood.  He is not entirely good, but not entirely malevolent.  He loves his son, but has difficulty expressing it.  In this, I think that he is shown to be a traditional father, one that is bound by his time period and seeking to understand a new path that his son is chartering.  Homer, Sr. is honor bound, and believes in the power of tradition, putting him at odds to a great extent with his son's endeavors.  I believe that this is where it is significant that he is characterized in a manner that is not reductive.  Reflective of how science and its pursuit brings out complexity, the emotional timbre of Homer's father is one that is complex and intricate, like the scientific endeavors that Sonny conducts himself.

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