October Sky Psychology Write-Up

Film Write-up 1 October Sky is a based on a true story about a mining town called Coalwood and one boy’s journey. Homer Hickam is an adolescent boy whose life has been predetermined by his father, a foreman at the coalmine, to work down in the mines but he has a different plan for his life. In October 1957, everything changes when the first artificial satellite, Sputnik goes into orbit. After he sees the satellite flying across the night’s sky, Homer becomes inspired to learn how to build rockets.
With his friends, who also are destined for the mines, and the local nerd, Homer sets to do just that by trial and a lot of error. Unfortunately, most of the town, especially Homer’s father, thinks that the boys are wasting their time. They don’t believe in what these kids are trying to accomplish, the only one who has faith in them is their high school teacher, Miss Riley. She understands what they’re trying to do and gives them the support and encouragement they need to become contenders in the national science fair with a college scholarships and a life out of the mines being the prize.
The four boys, Homer being their leader, fight through accusations by the law and attempts to destroy their dreams. They ban together along with the help of their once doubting town, in particular Homer’s father, to bring home the first prize at the science fair and go on to change their stars. Throughout the movie you could see there was great tension between Homer and his father and I think it affects the relationships that he makes in the movie. At first we see Homer pining after one of the beautiful popular girls in his school but she is unattainable.

Just like his father’s relationship, he can’t have the affection that he wants and because of this he overlooks the girl who it quiet but beautiful inside and out who is clearly in love with him. Once Homer figures out his place in the community and realizes he doesn’t need to work hard for a love that’s not there he opens himself up to a real true love. I would characterize this as Erikson’s stage, intimacy versus isolation where young adults need to form intimate, loving relationships and failure leads to loneliness and isolation.
Because he struck out with the popular girl he went into isolation and focused only on his rockets. We also see Homer in Erikson’s stage of identity versus role confusion, while he was figuring out what his heart wanted we also see him trying to figure himself out. In the beginning, Homer didn’t know who he was, or what his life path was going to be. He knew his father and the rest of the town had the idea that he would be a coal miner but he wasn’t so sure what life held for him.
It wasn’t until his teacher encouraged him to push himself intellectually that he found his love for rocketry and science that he really began to find his identity. In the end when he becomes this town hero and wins the science fair, his father shows up to his final rocket launch for the first time and we see Homer really feeling like he’s become his own man and he has that respect he’s always wanted from his father. I would also say that Homer exhibits two of the characteristics of adolescent egocentrism; he shows invincibility fable and personal fable.
In the very beginning of the movie when Homer starts out testing his very first rockets they weren’t well made or accurate but he still went ahead and tested out his ideas without throwing any caution to the wind. His very first rocket blew up his mother’s fence but he still carried on making his ideas into a reality without testing them in a safe environment, the next rocket flew into the mining site and almost hit the workers. As Homer became more seasoned in his rocket making and more serious about his craft, he moved his test launches to an empty field which proved to be much safer for him and the community around him.
The other characteristic he exhibits is personal fable. He feels that his life is destined for something bigger than what has been set out for him. He believes there is something unique about himself that he needs to share with the world. While his father and everyone else, including his friends, look down on this idea of breaking out of the mold he still stuck with his idea of becoming something bigger and better. At the end of the story he does in fact become the town hero and his dreams of greatness come to fruition as he grows up.

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