Throughout the memoir about his youth, Homer Hickam in Rocket Boys demonstrates excellence in prose. Hickam, a former aerospace engineer from NASA, credibly and masterfully crafts his memoir so as to bring the reader into his mindset. His insightful descriptions of action enable the reader to experience the moment firsthand with him through their imagination. He carefully selects his words in order to create an image in the mind of the reader through his deliberate syntax, powerful diction, literary devices, and imagery. The following passage is an example of his powerful prose: Sherman wanted to light the fuse, but I worried whether he could get away from it fast enough. ‘Don’t you worry about me,’ he said with such intensity that I instantly gave in. In a lot of ways, Sherman was the least handicapped person I’d known. He lit the fuse and ran back to a rock. Flames burst from Auk II. It sat for a moment spewing smoke and sparks and rocking on its fins. Then it jumped ten feet into the air, turned and zipped into the woods behind us, ricocheted off an oak tree, rebounded back to the slack, twisted around once, twanged into the boulder Quentin and I were hiding behind, jerked twenty feet into the air, coughed once, and dropped like a dead bird. (Hickam 91)
This passage is excellent because it displays literary excellence while also revealing a moment of self awareness in Hickam’s thoughts. There are two key portions to this quotation. The first is the momentary reflection that Hickam had concerning his friend, and the second being the description of Auk II’s flight.
In the first half of the passage Hickam displays a moment of self awareness. Sherman Siers, a member of Hickam’s BCMA, had a left leg that had been damaged due to polio. Hickam states that at first he worried that Sherman that Sherman might not be able to retreat quickly enough after lighting the fuse to Auk II, but he gave in due to the confidence and zeal that Sherman...
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