The Coalwood Way
by Homer Hickam
Chapter 9 ~ The Coalwood Sky
Quentin expresses disappointment
in Sonny's insufficiency in being rigorous, which Sonny adds to the viable
reasons for his personal "pity party". The guys develop "water putty"
as a solution to one problem, and Quentin "invents" TANG. New characters
are introduced, leaving us with all sorts of questions about the roles they
Writers' Workshop ~
(1) The author gives
us only a quick flash on the subject of Billy, which we sense to be an important
story line, but Sonny is busy at the time and pays little attention.
Why do we get so little information here? What is your prediction about
where this plot line is headed? (Be assured that our author never drops a
plot line carelessly, nor loses track of one.)
(2) Jake Moseby, Gerhard,
and Dieter are introduced in this chapter. There are a variety of reasons
(some positive, some negative) for introducing characters this far into a
book. Write down as many as you can think of.
(3) Good writers create
not only visual images with their words, but also emotional context as well.
What are the feelings engendered when Dieter says, "We help him at 11 East"?
In what direction do you expect this revelation to take the story?
Freud's Couch ~
(1) Quentin suggests
that Sonny resolve his emotional issues by making a list of things that bother
him. (This will also serve the author's purposes, as he will be able
to continue reminding us of important plot lines.) How effective a
strategy do you think this is for remedying emotional distress? Do
you have any personal experience with this strategy?
(2) Our beloved author
says, "It was not in the nature of the people of Coalwood to look up at the
sky." What is the symbolism implied in this? How does this connect
with John Bunyan's and Teddy Roosevelt's reflections on "muckrakers"?
What is the effect of the Rocket Boys on this habit?
(3) In reference to
Jake, Elsie says he "loves that mine as much as your dad." Considering
that Jake and Homer are so radically different in every other way, how can
this be possible?
(4) Will "leaving Coalwood"
end up on Sonny's list? Why do we behave differently when approaching
a "rite of passage" in our lives? Have you noticed your relationships
changing as you get closer to leaving for college?
Mountaineer Morality ~
(1) The author states,
"It was a WV custom to be curious, but to never go past a rebuke."
Once again, what exactly does he mean by this? Are both parts of it
still true? Why are both elements necessary in order for the statement
to have some uniqueness for Mountaineers?