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Each of us has our own dreams. Most of the time, we start building our dreams while we are still in childhood. However, most of us realize what we want to be and to do the moment we become a teenager. Clearly, adolescence is one, or perhaps, the most crucial period of our lives. This is our turning point from being a child going to an adult. From this period, we start to shape our future, our fate. From this period, we begin to draw the lines of our palms and our destiny.
It is during the same period when retired NASA engineer Homer Hickam fully realized what he wanted to be. His adventures were all written in a memoir that he wrote and entitled "Rocket Boys". Set during the middle of the twentieth century, "Rocket Boys" tells the story of a group of teenager boys in West Virginia who followed their dream of becoming an established creator of rockets. Hickam used his own point-of-view in retelling the tales from his town.
In this book, the author tried to narrate how he draws his destiny by following his ultimate dream.
The book is very heart-warming and inspiring, and yet not too dramatic. The events, which the author described, were humorous themselves. The book, moreover, offers a lot of realizations and lessons in life. Because of this, "Rocket Boys" received a lot of appraisal since the time of its publication in 1998. In fact, the book has already been adapted into a movie entitled "October Sky" the year after its publication.
How do the elements of the story, particularly the characters, help in the appraisal of Hickam's "Rocket Boys"?
One of the most powerful aspects of the novel is the portrayal of the characters. Although historical ones, the characters in “Rocket Boys” seem to be fictionally created. There are certain parts of the story wherein the characters seem to act and behave as if they were characters from a dramatic TV series. The portrayal of the main character, for example, is perfectly executed that one would think that Homer is a fictional character living at the turn of fictional events. With this, Sonny’s actions seem to be believable.
At the onset of the story, the readers would really get hooked by the author’s first sentence: “Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my hometown was at war with itself over its children and that my parents were locked in a kind of bloodless combat over how my brother and I would live our lives. ” (Hickam, p. 1). Clearly, this line would give the readers an impact of how Sonny’s life looks like. What he said was true, thus making the first line believable already, which the readers could relate with.
Sonny’s diverse friends also add flavor to the story and to Sonny’s life, as well. As we could remember, Sonny’s adolescence was very colorful. It has its bright mode. For example, he experienced most of his happy memories with his friends. One of the most memorable scenes of the boys in the story is their act of chasing rockets using their old car. It only means that as teenagers, they were focused in chasing their dream. In addition, chasing rockets while chasing the two beauties of Coalwood makes the scene a bit light.
In addition, Sonny’s family plays a vital role in his life. Sonny’s father could be said as a responsible man. However, he could be also categorized as strict and realistic. Thus, these traits were also shown with his relationship with his family. Sonny, for example, could not go to college because he lacks scholarship. Unlike his older brother, Sonny has no blood for sports. Instead of encouraging his son to look for other ways in entering a college, Mr. Hickam never did.
He was even not in favor with Sonny’s dream of building rockets, an opposite stand that Sonny’s mother takes. Sonny’s attitude, as well as his friends, could symbolize modernity while those of his father could mean conservatism. It was nice that Sonny did not have to balance the two. He just simply yielded to what he thinks is most suited for him. Because of that, the story became more believable. His actions became consistent since he is focused in one thing—chasing rockets and chasing his dream—a very beautiful story told through the voice of a certified Rocket Boy.
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