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October Sky Movie Essay

October Sky is a movie about how a hillbilly accomplished his dream of building rockets and got out from the falling mining hometown named Coalwood. Homer Hickam, the main character of the movie, would never succeed in his rocket dream without the extraordinary inspiration and encouragement from Miss Riley. An outstanding educator will focus on enlightening students and extending their limits instead of instructing strict rules and following rigid formats. The teacher in the movie, Miss Riley, recognizes the potential in every student, not only the ones with visible ability.  She would use philosophical stories and her experience and observation to help her students to orient their dreams. All the positive impacts on the students came from the unique personality of the instructor. There is a remarkable dialogue that touches my heart and wins my approval in the movie October Sky. When Homer and his partners were going to launch their rocket, some of the town residents had found their blockhouse and had been waiting for their launch. Miss Riley said to Homer, “You do not have to prove anything to anybody.”

Miss Riley said that to the boys to make them feel more relaxed and try to comfort them from nervousness. Even Homer’s father, John Hickam, didn’t believe his son could be successful in building rocket. Miss Riley gave support to the rocket boys and helped them to approach their goal as much she could, such as ordering a book for Homer. In the beginning, Principal Turner reprimand Miss Riley for giving her students false hopes and wasting their time; and confiscated Homer’s rocket and the book about rockets. It was Miss Riley helped to get Homer’s things back and directed him to pursue his goal even though there would be obstacles along the way and he should not fear.  Homer’s father, John Hickam, and Ike Bykovsky both had influence on Homer’s coming of age. The effects from them were definitely not the elements that motivated Homer to achieve his ambition, but they taught Homer his responsibility to the family.

Ike rather stayed at mining for higher salary than go back to work in car shop. For the reason that his family was in poverty, his choice headed him to death. In another accident, John was severely wounded, Homer picked up the responsibility to support family as his father had done. John was one of the major obstacles for Homer to accomplish his rocket dream. His father wanted to make Homer to be an exceptional miner in Coalwood then take his place in the Company, so he threw Homer’s rocket equipment out and sneered at Homer. John had constructed his plan for Homer’s future; nevertheless, Homer hated to be a miner. John’s unsupportive actions towards Homer’s rocket dream were absolutely negative to Homer. But John gave Homer a positive lecture about how to treat friends when John saved O’Dell from his drunken stepfather outside the police station.

Homer shaped his outlook and grew up to be a man from Ike Bykovsky and John Hickam’s valuable lectures. In this tangible world, educators do not necessary have to be human being. Anything that inspires us can be our role model. The similarity between a physical object or an event and an instructor is that they both can give students positive impacts through affirmative representations. There is another movie that inspired me named, Life of Pi. It is a sad story about how an Indian teenager survived from a marine peril with a tiger.  When Pi was a child, he converted himself to several religions, and his father told him that having several different faiths in the meanwhile is equal to not believing in anything at all. His mother explained a different idea to him which is, science takes over our outside world and it never gets inside our heart, only faith does.

This short conversation in the movie has its own charm; it reveals some truth to me, and affects me on developing my standard of treating the world. Pi’s experience of sailing the sea taught me that no matter how slight the chance is we should never lose hope. Even though the movie did not convey these ideas directly to us, it gave us the direction to imagine. As the interpretation above, great educators always use stories and their experiences to enlighten students.  That is where usually the positive sources come from. In October Sky, Quentin, one of the rocket boys, could also be seen as a great teacher to Homer.

It was him who introduced Homer the basic ideas about rocket; Homer would probably never recognize his hidden potential without Quentin. Before making friends with Homer and the other two Rocket boys, Quentin was the biggest geek in their school. He continued school without having a social life and friends.  Quentin came from a poor family in the poor Coalwood neighborhood; he had nothing but a clever brain. Rocket Dream joined Quentin and Homer together, and they were attracted by each other’s qualities as well.

Homer desired Quentin’s knowledge, and Quentin wanted Homer’s bravery and compassion which encouraged him to pursue his dream. They were not only a good friend to each other, but also a good teacher to each other. Educators giving great positive impact and support to their students do not require obtaining a high diploma, but the ability to recognize the student’s potential and discover their possibility for greatness. Great educators come with a unique personality.  The most primary job of educators is not to make their students to be solely erudite, but to offer them confidence and understanding to pursue their dreams, just like what Miss Riley have done for the rocket boys.


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