The Coalwood Way
by Homer Hickam

Chapter 31 ~ A Page From Jeremiah

Discussion ~  This penultimate, short chapter gives us time to gather our breath and prepare for the outstanding conclusion.  Sonny begins it with a nightmare, and ends it with a positive note of hope that alerts us to the good things that are coming.  In his usual fashion, our Author places all his characters in position for their next actions, but in this case there is extra energy since we know the book is coming to its conclusion.

Writers' Workshop ~ 
     (1)   Make a special note on your list of chapters that shows the elements used by our Author in this little chapter as he creates the perfect tool for preparing a grand finale.
     (2)   Note again the way the usage of just a few choice words can make a tremendous difference in the way a scene is viewed.  Focus especially on the scene in which Sonny (as a self-chosen third party) gives Jim and Billy the credit (or blame) for actions that have occurred in the Hickam home.
     (3)   As Elsie prepares to do an important task (even knowing that it will be dangerous and difficult) she challenges Sonny and Billy to "Do the impossible.  It seems like a good day for it."  Sonny knows what she means, and is energized by it.  Do you know what she is speaking of?  How do you expect this to turn out?

Freud's Couch ~
     (1)   Sonny admits that he doesn't think he is a quitter anymore, to which Elsie responds, "I'm not surprised.  You boys don't know a thing about quitting.  I guess you haven't seen enough of it to learn."  Are you surprised?  Elsie implies here that quitting may be a learned behavior.  What is your position on that?  If it's genetic (nature, rather than nurture), how would a person overcome it?  (or would they be like a character in a Greek tragedy, doomed to fail because they couldn't avoid their "quit" gene?)
     (2)   Elsie thinks it's a good day to "do the impossible".  Is there really any such thing, or is she only saying this because she has chosen this day for an "impossible" task?  Can a thing be considered "impossible" if one may simply determine to do it?  What will happen if Elsie or Sonny fail in their impossible task?

Mountaineer Morality ~ nothing other than as related to the above.

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