How The Relationship Between Parent and Child Are Depicted in Joe Johnson's October Sky and Alice Walker's Everyday Use.

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About this sample


Words: 1718 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 1718|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

"October Sky" by Joe Johnston and "Every Day Use" by Alice Walker's stories deal with parents and kids relationships. John Hickam and a middle-aged woman are parents who find themselves choosing between both of their kids. Dee and Jim are the strongest kids of the family who've followed their parents' expectations. Homer and Maggie are very different from their brother and sister. They have very different goals compare to their brothers and sisters. As consequence their relationship with their parents experience obstacles and conflicts. As readers we capture the distinctions that this parents have between their kids. They treat them differently. The theme that stands the most is based on the relationship between parents and children. John and Walker have learned to accept their kids and the differences that create a different out come from the begging of the story until the end. Hickam and Walker faced conflicts and gained their parents respects by changing their static relationship into dynamic acceptance between them.

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Homer devotion to rockets and differences between his brothers does not follow his dad's expectations creating conflicts between them and static their relationship as father and son. In "October Sky", the story takes place at a West Virginia mining town during the 1950's. People could only survive working in coalmines. John is a mine superintendent and fully expects Homer to follow his footsteps. He demonstrates to him how much he wants him to become a coal minter and says " homer I was born for this, and I shouldn't be surprise you were to." This creates conflict with his dream of becoming a Rocket Scientists. By winning the science project he would be able to gain a scholarship and becoming a rocket scientist. He follows his dream over passing the problems like when he's arrested for flying his rockets. This makes his father say something he's never said before. In this scene he shows how bad he felt about his son and says, "Homer I've been confuse about you, I've been mad at you, but boy that is the fist time I'm shame of you I in my life." Other contradiction for his father is the different accomplishment from his brother Jim. He succeeds as a football player by winning a scholarship. This is something that for his father's eyes puts Homer in a disadvantage. This passage is reflected when he's at his office and says "Were shouting off a rocket today, I though you might like to come and see it?" John replays, "I got to catch up on some work." Then Homer looks straight at him and says, "how come you never have work when Jim plays football, you never miss a game?"

Maggie has an insecure personality very different from her mother showing a conflict and maintaining a static relationship with her mother. In "Every Day Use" it's a story narrated by a woman who describes her self as "a large, big-boned woman with rough, woman-working hands." She has enjoyed a rugged farming life in the country and now lives in a small, tin-roofed house surrounded by a clay yard in the middle of cow pasture and has two daughters, Maggie and Dee. Dee is very different from Maggie. She's a smart girl who was send to Augusta School to study and become a knowledgeable woman. This is also described by her mother and says "She washed us in a river of make believe, burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn't necessary need to know." Before Dee seemed to hate her sister. After the house where both of the girls and her mother used to be live before. This incident created an immense impact on Maggie. This passage is shown when the mother mentions "Some times I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie's arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress failing off her in little black papery flakes" This also let Maggie in a state of inner insecurity scene the fire had caused scars physically and mentally as well. This makes a conflict between both sisters and how her mother it's not comfortable by the way she is. This is demonstrated when she describes her by saying "Have you ever seen a lame animal? Perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to won a care, saddle up to someone who is ignorant enough to be kind to him?, that's the way Maggie walks." In another passage

The mother describes Maggie with rejection by saying "I hear Maggie suck into her breath and it sounds like when you see the wriggling end of a snake just in front of your foot on the roads description of a dog demonstrates she's not too proud of her as her other daughter Dee.

Homers gained his dad's respect and accomplishing his dreams making his dad proud, experiencing a new dynamic relationship between them. John didn't agree with homers dream. However he always proved respect to his father. In every scene whenever he'd talk to his father his would turn down his head. This showed the respect he had for him. No matter weather the father was wrong or not he would always replay "yes sir." He worked really hard to follow his dream. He proved his dad he was responsible. The scene where he's in the kitchen with his father and mother they're eating on the table and he's father thanks him for working very hard on the mines. This is when he says "Homer I appreciate the work you've done for us." After gaining the privilege go to the science fair and making his dream come true he's dad demonstrates the affection to his son. As Homer approaches closer and closer to his dream John starts to understand him better. This is proven in the scene where his rocket has stolen and he asks help to his mom in order to replace the rocket. The only one the can help in is his dad and he goes and makes another rocket for him. Homer is on the phone talking to his mom thanking for the rocket replacement then he asks "Mom how were you able to get the rocket on time?" Then she replays, "Was your dad Homer." Once he wins the scholarship goes back to his town. He's worked really hard to accomplish his dream now what's left his dad shows him how proud he is of him. In this scene he's standing up thanking all whole town for their help then he says, "I also want to thank my dad." Right after his voice brakes and looks at his dad standing in the crowd. The appearance of his dad is very meanful to him. All his efforts finally pay off and he makes he's dad very proud.

Maggie's respect and support towards her mother made her realized how valuable her daughter really was and she demonstrated her affection by giving her a very meanful quilt. Maggie showed respect to her mother more then Dee did. Her mother was able to realize this fact. Dee proved to be shame of her family something that her sister never showed. The story makes it clear that Dee was confused about the meaning of her heritage. At first she states this by saying "No, Mamma, call me Wangero, I couldn't bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me." Maggie very different from her sister has showed respect to her by learning knowing about her heritage. This respect was proven also to her mom. Her mother had had a very valuable African American heritage that Maggie learned to appreciate it by quilting.

We're able to know this when Dee asks her mother for the quilts. Dee said, "Maggie knows how to quilt" Quilting was tradition for her mother pass down generation by generation since the Civil War. Therefore Maggie's mother knew she's worked hard for them and reacted by telling Dee, "I promised to give the quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas." Maggie proved to have respect for her mother and a lot of love. This was shown when she says to her mother "She can have them, Mama, I can still remember Grandma Dee without the quilts." After leaving for so long with her mother she deserved those quilts. Instead of fighting for she didn't mine her sister having them. This reply represented the respect she had for her mother and her ancestors; she didn't require the quilt to remember who she was. Very differently from her sister, Dee who needed to have them hangs on the wall in order to remember her past. As ignorant, ugly as she was she always supported her mom. This affection changes the static relationship they had as mother and daughter. It also created a dynamic attitude towards her daughter.

Her mother recognizes how meanful she really is for her by saying to Dee I promised to give the quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas." "When I looked at her something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet." In this part her mother has realized the real Maggie, she finish this by saying "This was the way she knew God to work." Her mother's last proof of affection was show when she says, "I did something I never had done before: hugged Maggie."

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"October Sky" by Joe Johnston demonstrated the conflicts that John Hickam faced with his son Homer. Among these conflicts were the following: his devotion to rockets, becoming a coal miner, his father rejection and the differences among his brother. As well as "Every Day Use" by Alice Walker provided us a list of conflicts, which made Maggie and her mother relationship very static. Conflicts based on Maggie's insecure, ignorant, differences form her sister that she reflected to her mother. Magpies gained her mother's respect by showing support, understanding and respect to her culture, values and ancestors. Homer as well gained his father's respect with effort, respect towards his dad, wining the science fair and becoming a scientist. Both of the kids change their parents point of view and their static relationship into a dynamic understanding and acceptance among themselves.

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How the Relationship Between Parent and Child are Depicted in Joe Johnson’s October Sky and Alice Walker’s Everyday Use. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from
“How the Relationship Between Parent and Child are Depicted in Joe Johnson’s October Sky and Alice Walker’s Everyday Use.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
How the Relationship Between Parent and Child are Depicted in Joe Johnson’s October Sky and Alice Walker’s Everyday Use. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
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