October Sky

by Homer Hickam

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Describe Homer Hickam's character in October Sky.

Quick answer:

Sonny has a good sense of his own identity, who he is. He knows what he wants out of life. He is intelligent, and can figure things out. He is also friendly and nice to others.

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I am assuming that you are asking about Homer Hickam, Jr., also known as Sonny. Sonny is the leader of the Rocket Boys , a group of friends from the mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia, who join together to unlock the mysteries of rocket science on their own in...

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response to the launching of the Russiansatellite Sputnik. Sonny is an intelligent boy, although some subjects at school do not come easily to him. He has good interpersonal skills and is a leader, but has a great deal of trouble understanding Algebra, and when he succeeds in convincing his high school to offer Calculus, he himself is not accepted in the class because his grades are not high enough. Even while acknowledging his own weaknesses, however, Sonny knows how to get things done, enlisting the help of individuals who can contribute what he cannot. He recognizes that the class outcast, Quentin Wilson, has the ability to provide the intellectual understanding necessary to building an operational rocket, and solicits his help at the risk of alienating his peers.

Sonny is determined, and knows what he wants out of life. When his father, whose approval he has always longed for, tries to convince him to become a mine engineer, he stands up to him, telling him he wants to be a rocket scientist instead. Sonny and the Rocket Boys persevere in their efforts to develop a rocket which both flies and can be controlled, despite the opposition of friends, family, and community, eventually succeeding and winning the approval of the majority of those who tried to stop them in the beginning. Sonny is a confident, character with a good sense of his own identity. Emily Sue pays him a high compliment when she tells him, 

"You're one of the nicest, friendliest kids in this school. Everybody likes you, Sonny. You know why? You like yourself" (Chapter 6).    

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What is the most significant thing Homer Hickam does in October Sky?

I would say that the Homer's pursuit of his dreams is probably the most significant element in his narrative.  The fact that he never sacrifices his dream despite his father's inertia and the state of being in Coalwood are challenging enough elements. Yet, Homer does not acquiesce to these elements.  The most significant thing Homer does is to pursue and continue the vision that exists in his mind, and in the subjective experiences of the Rocket Boys.  The idea that the boys are able to pursue their dreams in a setting that is not immediately appreciative of their elements is vitally important.  It becomes incredibly important for Homer to act and to continue to act on the advice of his mother in pursuing the designs and execution of his foray into the realm of rocket technology.  This becomes his calling and his chosen profession so it would be logical enough to presume that his mere continuation of this through adverse conditions becomes the most significant element in his narrative.

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