Archive for the ‘Homework’ Category

The Sea Inside : Post 1

My reaction: My reaction to this film is kinda neutral. Overall I would say this is a really powerful film, but I can’t really describe why. I think Ramon’s request to die was something that should have taken less time to fulfill. Yes, it was suicide, but Ramon was living in a state where he could do nothing but write. I think the court should have, if nothing else, allowed his other friends to help without penalty. The friends who agreed to help him only helped him because they loved him. None of them wanted him to die, but the gave him his choice. 

Final Week, Post (Final Post, Essay)

Mr. Hatten: I can not do all of the required formating on my blog because I don’t remember all of the HTML to do it. If you want a version of this in .doc format, email me or leave a comment.

Matt Norris
Mr. Hatten
English 10
11 October 2007

In Homer Hickam’s memoir, October Sky, there is a powerful message telling us to keep trying. Throughout the entire memoir Homer fills the book with facts about Coalwood, what it was like to constantly be under coal dust, and live in a society that is based off working in a mine you don’t want to touch. In this memoir, Homer conveys his message through detailed memories, people, and tone.
Homer brings his message of perseverance through detailed memories. Homer talks about the coal mine from an inside view. Homer had always lived in Coalwood, and he had always been accustomed to the coal dust: “Throughout my childhood, when I raised my blanket in the morning, I saw black, sparkling powder float off it.” (2) From my point of view, it would be discouraging to see the coal float off, just the same as how Homer’s socks were black by the end of the day. Imagine waking up and seeing your entire room covered in dust, so that if and when you move a a thing everything goes flying. Homer, through out the book, says that he doesn’t want to stay in Coalwood, but everyday he has to have that reminder. It’s kind of thing that gives Homer the will to continue fighting to build his rockets.
Another way that Homer shows his message of perseverance is through the people he talks about. One person stands out as a person which he takes forever to give up with: Dorothy Platt. Dorothy Platt is the one person in the world that Homer wants to date, and Dorothy Platt isn’t in the same spot. Homer is told over and over that she doesn’t care about him, but he does extra stuff for her anyway. “Are you still not over Dorothy? She doesn’t care at all about you!” (232)

The Final way that Homer shows his message of perseverance is through his tone. Homer always speaks positively in the book. After Ike dies, Homer has a hard time doing much for a while. It wasn’t until Ike’s wife was leaving town that he realized he had nothing to be feeling terrible for. The moment Homer realized he wasn’t responsible for Ike’s death things picked up…and three weeks later “Auk XXI was fired and my father, ignoring Doc’s orders, got up and went back to work.” (299) Homer had been in a bit of a slump, but the moment he didn’t feel guilty for “killing” a friend, things became optimistic once more.

In this memoir, Homer conveys his message through detailed memories, people, and tone. Homer remembers the gray tint of Coalwood and the dust of his covers in the mornings. He will always remember not giving up with Dorothy; and he will never stop being optimistic.

Week 5, Part 2.2

My personal reaction

As I continue to read this book, I have started to see the real meaning of the book (which I will discuss in the next book post). Coalwood life is in for change as coal is needed less and less by the steel company that owns them. In the previous section of this book, Sonny has really had some hard things hit him. Ike, his neighbor and friend, has died, while his father is now blind in one eye, and he himself was nearly killed from a huge cut in his hand. If Sonny had never seen Mrs. Bykovski, it might have been the end of the book and Sonny’s rocket carrier right there. Sonny is going to teach himself calculus (after not getting into the class he worked so hard to create), and this alone is a feat that most (all…) students would never try today. I think this is a great example of the personal motivation that Sonny has. As I keep going I am starting to remember some of the movie October Sky…and I am able to recall differences in the book and the move. Perhaps it might be worth my time to rent the movie and compare it to the book when I finish :^) …

Week 5, Part 1

Directions: Post #1: Read two other students’ blogs and comment on their blog about their level of insight in regards to their memoir, their blog in general and also something they could improve upon. If two comments have been submitted for a blog, go on to a different blog to comment.

Here are the blogs I commented on:

Hope I did this the right way…but it seems I am the only person to comment at all! Again, I will be writing my summary in the next hour or so, but I might get side tracked looking for comments in other classes! :P

Week 4, Part 1

My 2 quotes from “October Sky”:

1. “Okay, Sonny, let’s go over this one more time. Don’t blow yourself up. Got it?” -Mrs. Hickam (190)
2. “It didn’t take long before every missing thing in the town was blamed on ‘those rocket boys’.” -Homer Hickam (172)

My first quote from the book is from Homer’s (Sonny from here out) mother. When Homer started building rockets, the first thing he did was blowup her garden. While she was ok with the idea of Sonny learning to make rockets, she had one thing to say: Don’t blow yourself up. This particular quote was just after Sonny had been melting a new rocket fuel with Quentin, Sherman, O’Dell, and Roy Lee…and a bit of it dried and exploded next to the house. I think that this quote shows that Sonny’s mother wants to encourage him to keep learning, but to be a little safer while doing it.

My second quote is actually just before the first. Sonny had taken the heating element from his father’s toaster, and Sherman had taken the battery from his dad’s garbage truck. The morning after each had taken these things, Sherman’s dad couldn’t get his truck started and Sonny’s dad was no longer having toast. News spread quickly through the town about this, and the rocket boys were being blamed for everything that went missing; including dogs. I think this quote shows how the town generally feels toward the rocket boys and their BCMA (Big Creek Missile Agency).

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly –Reflection–

I don’t know how to begin summarizing this book as to what I thought of it…but I think overall this was a short insight into a trapped person’s life that was well-worth reading.

Why was it well worth reading

This book was worth reading because it gave us a insight of what it is like to be trapped and to have communication to others being limited to the blink of an eye. I liked this memoir…but it confuse me in the way that things jumped around from past to present to dreams to reality. I can see how this book is an international best seller: the man writing it is lucky to have the amount of communication he does to tell people what it is like…and that alone is special. Bauby talks about how he is denied simple pleasures he once enjoyed ..such as food. Now all he can do is imagine the taste…. but he makes the best of that. This book / memoir is really a story of survival. He talks about how he makes it through the days…and even the ones he hates (such as Sunday). Bauby talks about the last time he remembered doing this or that…and how it felt like it was so long ago. He is constantly reading something or remembering something… and even revising this book in his read. This is how he keeps from going nearly mad trapped inside his “Diving Bell”.

My Final Opinion

I liked this book in general…even where I was confused. I think that this book shows how quickly things can change in your life…and to appreciate what you have while you have it. Here we read about a man with in “Locked-in” syndrome, who talked about the tedious mistakes of the hospital, yet made the best of his time there… always looking for something that was right. I think a lot of us would benefit from looking to the good of what we have instead of what we don’t have… and to occasionally take some time to look around and see where we really are in the world.

Week 3, Part 2

Most people would give up on making a rocket, dream or just about anything at this point. Homer is discouraged by every one except his mother, friends, and a handful of other people. It continues to amaze me that Homer had the determination to do all of this in his little home town of Coalwood. I really enjoy the way Homer talks about the people, though. Even though they were mean to him, he doesn’t write about them sa if they were evil…just as if they didn’t like him much. Homer doesn’t seem to worry about much beyond school and family. His dad is the boss of the Company, so it should have shaken him more than it did when he learned that his dad was sick with the common miners disease that is supposed to mean you stop working at the mine. At this point, it is still Homer and his friends’ hope to someday work at NASA with Dr. Wernher Von Braun to develop new rockets. Without the kind of leadership and determination Homer showed, the wouldn’t be as far as he is today. Thus far, this memoir continues to be interesting, inspiring, and funny, as Homer tells everything he remembers. Back when this was all going on, there were no home rocket kits… and the idea was silly! Her these kids are, developing their own home rocket kits…and by trial and error less than calculations! Really, if you were to try any of this stuff to make a rocket today, you would probably be sent to jail on suspicion of making home-made bombs. I’m still glad that I chose this memoir so far and can’t wait to finish through the entire book.

Week 3 Part 1

1. Summary of book so far (to about page 130), continued from first post:

Homer Hickam’s Father, who is now in charge of the mine, is not liked by the town very much. When the Captain retired, he insisted the Homer take over. Homer had never been to collage, and many of Coalwood’s people didn’t like that a man who had never been to college was in charge (considering some of the people that worked for him had been to college). Homer jr. had seen Sputnik (which had it’s 50th anniversary a few days ago on October 4th) along with the rest of the town which was in disbelief…in fact, Homer’s dad kept saying that they must have stolen technology from the US to launch Sputnik before us. When Homer saw Sputnik fly through the sky as a little light dot, he was amazed at it… and after seeing it Homer wanted to make a rocket himself. Homer went to making a rocket in his back yard, not knowing a thing about making rockets, and ended up blowing his mom’s garden and fence to dust. News of this went through the entire town quickly and he was being called various things everywhere, including school where he was called a sister by his own brother. It was also being said that he had been making a bomb, not a rocket, and that he had been very successful. Homer decided he was going to try again, but this time with a little more research. In the next couple weeks, it had been decided that the Coalwood football team wan not eligible to play ing the state championship game. While most everyone was very angry at this, being they were very good at football, Homer’s dad had decided they would bring it to court. The court denied them. After the game had been played and the Coalwood tem hadn’t gotten to play, Homer’s father was going to appeal. Again, no progress. By this time, Homer has decided to turn to Quentin. Quentin is a kid who is teased by everyone, including Homer. However, Quentin was very smart. During gym he always had some excuse, be it a sprained ankle or a headache, he was always sitting on the bleachers reading. One morning Homer went up to Quentin to ask how he would build a rocket. Quentin wanted to be his partner before sharing information…and Homer agreed. Quentin had told homer that he needed black power to launch his rocket…gave him a list of ingredients and Homer bought them at the Company store. Within the next few days they had begun making mixes of black power to test by throwing it into the water heater’s fire and observing the reaction. They next drew plans for a rocket and built it. The rocket the built was an aluminum tube which they had but some cardboard fins on (with glue…mainly to hold it upright) and a cone tip. They had made two powders that they thought to be their best candidates for testing. The first made a noise and a lot of smoke (but didn’t go anywhere) and the second caused the rocket to explode…again, with a lot of smoke. Homer’s dad had come out of the house yelling to stop because the entire town was under a fog and smell from the rockets which they had been told (by Homer’s dad) not to build. However, his mother encouraged him to make a new one that worked, just not in the backyard or where people are going to see it and think the town is being burned down. For their next rocket, they decided to create more of a team. The US had just launched it’s first satellite now on their second try, and Werner von Braun was Homer’s idle. When they made their rocket “club”, they named it the Big Creek Missile Agency. Homer’s friends, Roy Lee, Sherman, O’Dell and Quentin were all a part of it. They were going to make great rockets and some day get to the place in Florida where Dr. Von Braun would be on the same team as them. The next rocket had a hybrid powder that was in-between the two powders they tried before…and it also contained a postage stamp glue that would allow them to mold the powder so more of it could burn at once. The new rocket was called the Auk I. The next day they had all gathered to launch the new rocket. It was going to be launched behind the coal mine where very few people were. This rocket flew. While it only flew six feet, it flew that far before the solder holding on a washer to increase pressure had melted. The next Saturday they had the Auk II, Auk III and the Auk IV. The Auk II had a new, welded base for the pressurized flame to shoot out of, and it flew 10 feet. This time it was the taped fins that caused the rocket to fall. They were going to need a better guidance system before they could launch any of the other rockets.

2. About the Author:

Homer Hickam, born on February 19, 1943, in Coalwood West Virginia, was a Vietnam vet., Author, and former NASA engineer. Homer graduated from Big Creek High School in 1960, and from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial engineering. Homer served 6 years in the military, leaving as a Captain. He started working for NASA in 1981…inspired to do everything he did as a tech from Sputnik. Homer wrote 8 books total, the first 4 in his Coalwood series: Rocket Boys, which also became the movie, October Sky, The Coalwood Way, Sky of Stone, and We are Not Afraid. The other four books were from his Josh Thurlow Series: The Ambassador’s Son, The Keeper’s Son, Torpedo Junction, and The Far Reaches. Homer is still writing and plans to release his next book, again about the coal mines on 2.4.08. This book will be entitled Red Helmet. Below you will find a picture of Homer.


Week-1 Reading

Post what you read + reactions:

Book = October Sky, Also Known as Rocket Boys
THIS POST: Summary of first 50 pages (or so):

 In the first chapter of Oktober sky, Homer talks about his hometown and how he lives. Homer lives in the town of Coalwood, which was a town made only to mine coal from the town’s rich sources underneath it. The Company, as most call it, has created the town for what it is. Originally, the company wasn’t much…and neither was the town. Coal wood had a very small population with almost no luxuries, such as good school materials and doctors, and the company wasn’t much past a small mining company that still used mules to do work. One day, a military general cam into Coalwood and decided to make the Company his personal project. He installed state of the art mining technology, increased efficiency of mining, and made the city his personal project. The General, as he was called, gave the town a company store. He gave the town a company doctor. He gave the schools new supplies…and built parks, too. All this with the money the coal was bringing to Coalwood. Those working for the Company (everyone) even rented a house from it…which included cable and a new stove. Cable was a new thing that most cities didn’t have for less than a small fortune, less free for the town! In the city of Coalwood, if you didn’t work for the company (or weren’t living with someone who did), you didn’t live there. The town was the company, and the company was the town. Homer’s father, also Homer, worked for the company. He had worked for the company nearly for his entire life. Homer had been there when the General came to town…and he was still there while his town was changed. Homer was one of the highest ranks in the mine. He had amongst the highest pay (but still not incredible), and he was loyal to the company. Homer, as in the main character of this story, had always seen a black dust layer at his house. It had been around the town, too. Everyday when he would come home his white socks would be gray at the line above where they were in his shoes. Please read the above post for my reactions to this. -Matt

English 10 Reactions (first 50)

After reading the first cople of chapters of Rocket Boys, I have already had several reactions. My first major reaction is related to the type of job Homer Hickam had. Homer worked in a coal mine in the city of Coalwood. In Coalwood, everything was provided for the company, including your home. This isn’t how most cities are any more, and would be considered kinda odd. Another major reaction I had is from the type of city they live in. Coalwood is a city only for it’s cast coal mines. In the book, Homer talks about the one wife who had her husband die in an accident in the factory and then had to move away because she was no longer working for the company. Although I am still starting this book (fist 50 pages), I have already had 2 major reactions to the different lyfestyle that they lived in Coalwood.

Brawled (-) …pg.21
Sputnik (o) …pg.29
Glory (+) …pg.32
Shatter (-)pg.37
Relief (+) …pg.45
Brave (+) …pg.48
Embarrassed (-) …pg.48
Squirmed (-) …pg.50
Fire (-) …pg.52
Through (+) …pg.52

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About Me in 10 Seconds

I am Matt. I do as much as possible. I'm always busy, but that's how I like it and hate it. My goal is to be the best.