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October Sky

By: Faye Lee
College Now Course - SCI 1

Personal and social issues are presented in every day life. Society is fixated on building dreams to succeed and building upon passion that gives life newly fulfilled meaning. Some people have discovered the importance of science in this world. They've advanced science to contemporary society because of the belief that it is destiny to discover what is beyond the boundaries of Earth. In October Sky, the leading character, Homer, is a mediocre seventeen year old who proves to society that even the average teenager can create grand dreams and make them come true. All that was needed in the recipe of producing his dream was his devotion, heart, endeavor, and faith. Without these ingredients, he would've never made it far beyond society's close minded perceptions, and he would've never come to realize that space exploration was always his destiny. This film took the audience on Homer's journey where the directions to succeed were always instilled inside him.

Homer's dream began when he first saw Sputnik, a Russian satellite, go by across the sky. After he witnessed the launch of the Sputnik seen in the sky, he discovered his passion in life. He realized that he wanted to become a rocket scientist and explore space. Homer decided to build a small rocket and try to get it to fly high into space. He wanted to win the national science fair contest with the rocket that he planned to build. No one really gave him a chance and had faith that he could achieve this because he wasn't exactly the most intellectual person in school. He was just an average teenager, no one really special nor out of the ordinary. Homer attempted to destroy society's stereotype. He didn't want to be patronized and he had complete faith in himself that if he was devoted enough and work hard enough, he can succeed. He never believed that he couldn't do it. His mother and teacher supported him. All he needed was some faith to let him go on working on the fulfillment of his dream. He came upon challenges in his high road to succeed. His father was unsupportive because he wanted him to work as a coal miner like him. Without his father's support, it was harder to endure. He was unsuccessful in his first attempts at rocket building. He gathered a few friends to help him work on his project. They worked on it every day with such dedication and devotion. As the days went on, Homer's passion to become a rocket scientist grew. He had faith in his dream to be what ever he wanted to be.

One day, he built a rocket that worked successfully. It shot up into the sky at a tremendous rate, and all his classmates came to watch it. He became well supported because people realized that he had the potential to achieve. He was no longer perceived as a mediocre kid. He had something special in him, a strong heart of confidence and determination, which got him first place in the national science fair contest. His father realized that he wasn't the one to decide who his son should be. His job was to support all his son's endeavors and help him reach the dreams that gave meaning to his life. In the end, Homer's father did support him. Homer's journey proved that every cloud has a silver lining. He experienced failure and condescension, but from these experiences, he achieved his dream. He learned that he could make it as long as he kept going.

In the film, Homer also discovers the importance of science. He immediately became inspired after watching Sputnik go by across the night sky. Sputnik was the first satellite launched into space and started the space age and space race. The space race was between the U.S. and the Russians. Homer knew, that from the time he saw his miracle in the sky, his life was changed. He built rocket after rocket with his friends, trying to get them to reach high into space. He studied math and incorporated math in his rocket building by learning the precision of numbers needed to measure time and velocity for the rocket to work. His success in the national science fair led to the expansion of his dream. In the end of the film, it was that Homer grew up becoming an engineer for NASA. Space exploration was important to him because it showed him what there was beyond earth's limits. He uncovered the universe. He reached his destiny and found his meaning in life. Even though he was just an average boy, he made it so far. There is no impossibility. As shown through Homer, anything is possible when a dream is motivated inside a heart's passion.

The personal and social issues raised in October Sky are also significant in the American experience. In contemporary America, these issues still exist. Kids have their own dreams, and they constantly develop them out of passion. Some kids have been exposed to true inspiration at a young age that have led them to work years to accomplish their dreams. Others, such as adults, have been pursuing the wrong dreams all their lives. Sometimes epiphanies arrive late in life and when they do arrive, it gives life so much more meaning and life becomes worthy living for. This is the same experience that Homer went through in the film. He didn't discover what he wanted until he was seventeen. His passion to build a rocket and explore space gave his life newly found meaning and hope for his future. These personal issues are found in every individual all around the world. People act on their dreams by being devoted and hardworking like Homer. Without passion and heart, there really isn't a dream worthwhile to achieve.

Social issues from the film can also be related to the American experience. Support from peers and loves ones is needed for motivation to reach beyond limits. As in the film, Homer found support from his mother, teacher, and peers. He eventually won the support of his father, which motivated him and gave him a lot more faith. American society is becoming more supportive and accepting of science to the world. In the film, Homer became intrigued with space exploration and everything involved with it. In American society today, science still plays a large role. Astronomers are attempting to find life on other planets, and they're constantly tracking down the movements going on in space with the help of satellites.

October Sky is a very empowering film. It depicted important issues that demonstrated the efforts to reach dreams with the help of society. In the film, Homer destroys the stereotypical idea that the average person isn't able to achieve something so grand like building a successful rocket and winning the national science fair. Homer demonstrated the strength of his passion. He is truly devoted to become someone he was inspired to be from the view of Sputnik across the night sky. Space exploration became a main importance to him. American society relates to the same issues. Americans strive for their dreams every day. Dreams are gifts that give meaning to lives. Americans wouldn't be able to succeed without faith. Support and faith from society are the sources of motivation. Today, astronomy still plays a large role in people's lives. Space will always be an interest to many people because of the mystery of its natural wonders.