Analysis of Rocket Boys

Rocket Boys is the autobiography of Homer Hickam. The plot is about a high school student who experiments with rocket science. Homer’s mother was instrumental in incouraging Homer to set big goals for himself when he established his very own Big Creek Missile Agency. Homer had to contend with a father who believed in diehard traditions and a superior, athletic football star brother. Homer received friendship and aid from many people in his town with close community ties. His sole opponent was his own rather, the town mine’s superintendent, who desired him to become a miner and clamped down on his ambitions. Homer’s initial rockets failed miserably but he never
gave up. He battled poverty when his father, the sole breadwinner of his family, was injured in a mining accident. Homer worked as a miner to assume the head of the family’s role. Simultaneously, Homer is accused of being an arsonist when a forest caught fire. His tragedies tripled when his teacher, Miss Riley, was diagnosed with cancer. Homer refused to give up. He learned to use the mathematical principles of trigonometry to explain to the town’s officials how his rockets could never had caused the forest fire. Homer succeeded in clearing his reputation and name. He resumed work on his rocket projects and entered the national science fair. His gumption paid off handsomely when he won a medal and obtained prestigious scholarships for his entire team. Homer’s story has a double climax. …
called Coalwood in 1957. The small town fostered close communal ties and relationships.
Its residents rally around to provide support for Homer. The older generation had the
foresight to appreciate the potential of youthful endeavors although they feel
incapacitated to act to improve themselves. The storekeeper who sold Homer saltpeter
made this prophesy about him. ‘"Listen, rocket boy. This stuff can blow you to kingdom
come."’ Homer was a teenager with a big dream that would be fulfilled in the way others
prophesized. Homer was also called Sonny to distinguish between himself and his father,
who shared the same name, Homer Hickam. In order to live in Coalwood, the man of the
house had to work for the local mining company. It is a paternalistic society. Homer told
how his friend Tony and his mother had to leave Coalwood after the death of his Tony’s
father. The women were easily scared when the town had a Pentecostal preacher because
of the ‘hurling fire and brimstone and warnings of death from his pulpit.’ (Hickam 4).

Rocket Boys is a narrative by the protagonist in the first person. It is a nostalgic,
faithful account of Homer’s rags to riches story. Homer has mettle and character. He did
not spurn his humble roots after achieving success as a NASA engineer. He used a
humorous tone to recount his boyhood adventures. Doc Lassiter, who set Tony’s broken
arm, told the boys that he was ‘heap big medicine man’. (Hickman 5). The strong vein of
humor courses when Homer said that, ‘Many a time in the days to come, when I was
in trouble, I would think of Reverend Richard and his belief in God’s sense of humor and
his fondness for the ne’er-do-wells.’