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In the book “October Sky”, there’s a common theme throughout the book, Determination. Sonny and the Rocket Boys would often have an issue with their rockets. They never lost hope, never gave up, and kept going, determined to overcome their issues within rocket building, school, social life, and family. In “October Sky”, Sonny’s determination comes out when he’s building rockets. Once he saw Sputnik in his backyard Sonny turned his attention towards building rockets. The Russians launched Sputnik II on November 3rd, the rocket boys got together with sonny and decided that they were going to build a rocket. Their first rocket, using cherry bomb powder as fuel, was launched later that day by Sherman. Once Sherman announced “Blast off”, the rocket detonated, and blew up sonny’s mom’s garden fence. The boys took this experience and continue to use their determination to improve, and learn from their mistakes while building rockets.
In the book, following your dreams is another theme. Throughout the book, Sonny’s expectations in life is to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a miner. Even after he starts making rockets and they see his potential, his father changes his mind and thinks that he should become an engineer in the mine. Sonny didn’t want to work in the mine and end up like his father, he didn’t want to lose an eye, or have the health issues like his father. The theme comes into play throughout the entire book, his expectation is to work in the mine but he doesn’t settle for less, and he follows his dreams when he continues to work on the rockets, improving them constantly. The theme “determination” also comes up in the book towards the end when sonny is elected to represent his school in the science fair. He is extremely determined to do well in it. He had his worries about bias with the judges around the dangers of the rockets, and he also had the stress of some of his rocket nozzles getting stolen. Because he was determined, he was able to look past the worries, do well on his project, and ultimately win the national science fair.
The final theme of the book is parental love and acceptance. Throughout the book it talks about how his father and Sonny’s brother have a very good relationship through common interests, one being football. Sonny and his father do not get along very well throughout the book because his father wanted Sonny to become a miner and follow his footsteps, or become a football player. His father was also not happy with him because Sonny was causing issues for his father like blowing up the fence, or having his workers help with the rockets. As he continues his father still doesn’t approve but starts tolerating it more and more. Closure for Sonny was brought on in the last chapter when he had won the science fair and came home. Sonny decided he was going to launch one more rocket. Everyone in Coalwood showed up, including his father. Sonny told his father that he wanted him to launch the last rocket. This symbolized that his father accepted him and loved him even though he didn’t pursue what he wanted him to.
In conclusion, the book “October Sky” has a few different themes within it. The theme of determination is shown while Sonny is improving and working hard on his rockets despite other issues that could deteriorate his determination. Another theme shown was following your dreams, this was shown all throughout the book while sonny kept building rockets despite what everyone else wanted him to do, or what everyone else thought was possible from a kid in Coalwood. The final theme shown throughout the book was parental love and acceptance, this is shown at the end when Sonny launches his last rocket and realizes that his father really does accept him for what he did and is okay with it.
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