Collected items from all chapters.
(1) All seasons of the year have traditionally had certain
characteristics attached to them. Autumn is usually seen as a time
of endings and death. Here, the author takes the completely opposite
approach. Make a list of the characteristics of the other seasons,
then see if you can write a paragraph about one of them that defies the usual
stereotypes as the author does here.
(2) The author uses
the snow goose as a symbol of things that do not belong to a certain time
or place. It symbolizes Sonny's feelings of being alone, even within
his family and in a town as small as Coalwood. What symbols would you
use to reflect those times when you feel like you do not belong?
(3) Do you agree with
Tag Farmer's assessment that "A man who hurts his woman is a man who most
of all don't like himself."? How can we tell from people's actions
that they are lacking in a strong self-concept? How can you use that
insight in your future writing?
(4) The author closes
the chapter with an expression of Sonny's mixed feelings about a variety
of subjects (his grades, the pageant, rocketry, Poppy). Have you had
a time in your life when you were this overwhelmed by strong emotions on
a wide variety of topics?
(5) The author
does a fairly amazing thing by describing Poppy through the eyes of the
young man he was when this incident occurred. How difficult is it for
us to look back in time, remembering not only how we felt at the time, but
how we thought as well? Do our judgments of others (and for that matter,
ourselves) change over time? Why?
(6) What are Sonny's
feelings about simply being present in the clinic? Have you ever been
in a place that evoked certain feelings that you were having difficulty dealing
with? Write a description of that event, recalling as much as you can
about the elements that brought out those feelings.
(7) Sonny notices that
his father is acting very much out of character, displaying extreme tenderness
toward Poppy. We notice such things about our parents, especially in
trying times. Describe a time when you noticed an aspect of one of
your parents' character that you had previously overlooked or ignored.
(8) Part of Sonny's
unresolved pain about this situation revolves around his desire to simply
escape from a stressful situation. Unfortunately, this desire prevents
him from properly saying "good-bye" to his grandfather. Most of us
have lost someone close to us without having had the opportunity for closure.
Describe such a situation from your own life.
(9) Sonny mentions
that he feels a "slight depression" from time to time. Do you ever
experience sporadic emotions that seem to have no immediate source?
When do you notice them? Is this a common "disease" for teenagers?
Does that mean we should minimize it?
(10) Sonny has such
anxiety and ambivalence about his sadness that he cannot even pray for his
own blessings. He greatly desires to know the origin of that sadness.
Do you think you know? Sonny is going to start keeping a list of things
that might be bothering him. Predict what you think will appear on
(11) At the end of the
chapter, Sonny declares that God "was shaping us powerfully hard".
It is often said that, "God never gives us more than we can handle."
Do you think Sonny would agree with that at this point in his life?
Have you ever been under such duress that you felt that you were getting
more "on your plate" than you were equipped to handle? What did you
do about it?
(12) In the conversation
between Sonny and Mrs. Dantzler, he says, "I'll keep practicing."
She replies, "No you won't". Does he mean what he says? Why does
she seem so upset? Is she only concerned about the loss of a $2 fee?
(13) During the
scene, Ginger shows up and innocently gives Sonny a hip bump. What
do you think about the innocence of such an action? What does it foretell
about the plot?
(14) We also see that
Dreama reacts very differently to males and females. Why do you think
this is so? What does it tell you about her personality or character?
(15) Cleo Mallett and
Elsie have distinctly different ways of looking at Dreama. What clues
does the author give us about why this is so? What other factors do
you think play into their differing opinions? What does the author
accomplish by giving us these very different viewpoints?
(16) What is the
symbolism between Sonny playing the drums and Ginger playing the flute?
What does this imply about their relationship? Sonny compares his plan
to build his connection to Ginger with his plans in building rockets.
What do you think of his analogy?
(17) Following an "encounter"
between Homer and Elsie, the two of them go up to bed in very different fashions.
What does their body language (pace and gait) say about their moods and the
way they are affected by this situation? Who do you think will "win"
this clash of values?
(18) The fence-line
gossips take a small incident and find a way to attach to it everything they
hold against the Hickams. What is their motivation for doing so?
What do they hope to gain by being so mean? How would you expect Homer
and Elsie to react when they hear of such gossip? Have you ever participated
in this type of "gripe session"? Were your motivations any different?
(19) Elsie plans the Christmas
pageant as her "comeback", but Sonny refuses to participate in any way.
Near the end of the chapter he asks a very personal, but universal question,
"Was this a part of growing up, wanting to hurt the people who loved me the
most?" Well, what do you think? Have you ever felt this way?
What are the ramifications of behaving in such a way? Can we ever fully
recover all the elements of our relationship with our parents after an incident
like this? In some strange way, do parents actually expect us to behave
(20) Sonny acknowledges that
thoughts of Poppy might be making him feel maudlin at this traditionally
festive time of year. I would also admit to uneasy feelings near the
anniversaries of my parents' deaths. Why do we associate certain times
of the year with these losses? How long would you expect such feelings
to last? How might we remedy these feelings?
(21) Why do you think Billy
Rose is so defensive with Sonny about the rocket? (Look for several elements.)
(22) Elsie confides to Sonny
that she has lost many friendships due to Homer's role at the mine.
Why has this happened to her? Why does he feel so uncomfortable having
a parent share adult concerns with him? How do you feel when your parents
discuss adult issues with you?
(23) Coach Gainer serves his
role (philosopher who contributes insight) when he says, "A woman's mildness
will provoke a man's guilt far better than ever her wrath." What exactly
does he mean by this? How does it apply in this situation? Is
he correct? (It is a WV trait to state simple philosophical truths
in formal, nearly Biblical, verbiage. Why do you think that is?)
(24) In another very personal,
revealing comment, Sonny observes that Daisy Mae can find "tranquillity after
disappointment", expressing doubt that he will ever be like that. Do
you understand what he means by this? How are you likely to respond
after such disappointments? How do you think his prediction has turned
out? Did Sonny ever find a way to find tranquillity after disappointment?
Could there be any positive applications of this personality trait?
(25) 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?
(26) 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?
(27) 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
(28) 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?
(29) Mr. Dubonnet reckons
that Homer is a "good man" but not a "fair man". What do you think
of his reasons for saying this? Why does he make the distinction?
Is the distinction valid?
(30) Sonny, finding Homer
asleep on the stairs, declares that he cannot talk to his father about the
mine "in any form." Why is this? Must fathers and sons always
have these major issues between them about which they cannot talk?
What effect does that have on their relationship?
(31) Sonny closes the chapter
by referring to himself as the "unforgiven son". How many different
elements have brought him to this point? Considering all the elements
you have noticed, is his despair well-founded? Is any son ever truly
unforgiven by his father?
adds several things to his list in this chapter. What things do you
think he is leaving out at this point? What do you expect him to add
in the near future? What would be on your list?
(33) Elsie asks an astounding question in this
chapter; "Why is it, I can't have at least one thing in my house I love?"
Though she is in obvious pain, the implications of her words are far-reaching
and devastating. Sonny is definitely hurt by these words, but has no
response (nor, likely, would we). Recall a time when someone you care
about (or maybe yourself) uttered such a thing. Try to be as descriptive
as possible about the emotions and thoughts that were generated by those words.
(34) Sonny also has to "take the rap" for an incident
that may have been beyond his control. Do you think he is a responsible
as everyone wants him to be? He seems to have expected to get the blame,
but do you think his expectation reached to this extent?
(35) Sonny finds self pity addictive, but insufficient
to resolve his problems or soothe the accompanying sense of doom he has.
You have probably indulged in self pity at some point in your life.
Describe such a time, with emphasis on the elements above. Did you find
the tactic fulfilling? Did it have unexpected side-effects or consequences?
Did it, in fact, resolve any problems or assuage your gloomy feelings?
expresses a desire to go somewhere that Homer can't mine anymore. Do
you think this has anything to do with her feelings about Poppy? In
her mind, how does the mine represent both everything good in her life, and
(37) In this chapter, Sonny looks back over his
list and decides that he can "cure" at least one problem on it through active
intervention. What do you think of his chances? How "curable"
are such problems?
says (with no small measure of satisfaction and gloating), "All that bragging
that Dad had done over the years about Jim and never about me was going to
come back at both of them now." Why has Homer been much more openly
proud of Jim than of Sonny over the years? Is the disparity in praise
as great as Sonny thinks? Why is he happy to see both his dad and Jim
embarrassed? Are younger children more likely to have such emotions
than the eldest child? How does Jim probably see the situation?
How do we expect Homer to really feel about Jim's announcement?
to the above, write about situations in your own home in which sibling rivalry
leads to conflict between the children and also with the parents. Develop
a future situation which would lead your parents to see your strengths while
minimizing your sibling or siblings' accomplishments.
In this chapter, it really becomes
Tag Farmer's couch. He provides great insight into human nature by
his observations about several characters.
(40) Why is Dreama going back with Cuke?
What does it say about her motivations and self-concept that she is willing
to do so? Why is she so desperate to belong in Coalwood? Have
you ever felt extremely desperate to belong to a group or situation?
(41) Cleo Mallett is predicted to keep trying
to drive Dreama away. Why is Cleo so motivated to do so? What
is so unlikeable about Dreama that Cleo would feel this way? Have you
ever been driven out of a group by someone like this? Have you ever
tried to oust someone else? Why can't we just let people be?
(42) Tag warns Sonny not to hang out with the
Junior Engineers. Where does he imagine that might lead? Why
does he care about the directions Sonny might take? Why would he imagine
that Sonny is intrigued by the Junior Engineers anyway?
(43) When Tag says that Sonny and Ginger make
a "cute couple" has he finally missed the mark? When Sonny replies
that they are "just friends" is he wrong? Why do people
use these terms? How often are those term simply wrong?
refuses to help Dreama get her tooth fixed, in what seems to be a reversal
of opinion. Though she admits that it's mean not to help, she agrees with Cleo
on this subject. Why is she taking this stance? What does she
consider unacceptable about Dreama? What does she probably think about
Sonny's interest in this situation?
(45) Roy Lee puts a humorous spin on the fascinating
subject of Melba's figure. (If you do not know the song "Brazil", you
should look it up on-line.) In spite of that, how do you think the two
boys (Roy Lee and Sonny) look at Melba differently? As the chapter title
implies, what is Roy Lee actually "lamenting"? Do you think the two
boys are too interested in
a starving fawn causes Sonny to express affection that he seemed to be lacking
in relation to Poppy. Does this represent a change in Sonny's character?
Why does he seem more concerned about an animal than about his "own blood"?
Have you had a time when two seemingly different situations engendered the
same feelings in you, causing you to see a connection you had missed earlier?
(47) Finding it difficult to think of how his
father had been as a child causes Sonny to say, "I couldn't imagine him any
other way than the way he was." Though it is a problem for most of
us, a good author must be able to imagine people and situations differently
than they have seen them. Write a passage about one of your parents
or grandparents when they were children. Imagine how they must have
looked, spoken, and acted.
of the girls who are mentioned in this chapter have a role to play in Sonny's
personal life. Freud implied that most of our relationships with members
of the opposite gender have some bearing on our development as sexual creatures.
Make a list of all of the females mentioned in this chapter, and describe
how they relate to Sonny's psychosexual development.
(49) Dorothy uses a "magic phrase" that creates
a variety of emotional responses in Sonny. Make a list of all the reactions
he has to these three words. Can you think of other "magic phrases"
that cause people to have a variety of emotions?
is somewhat bemused that Rev. Schrieber seems more concerned with the starving
people in Africa than those in Coalwood. Do you think Sonny's interpretation
is correct? Why do some people seem to be better able to focus on problems
that are far away (either geographically or chronologically) than those that
are quite present? Why is Sonny so deeply concerned about this issue?
(51) Elsie gives Doc Hale "permission" to fix
Dreama's tooth, justifying it by saying that being the Superintendent's wife
"does have its moments". Why is she taking such satisfaction in this
particular good deed? Is it worth her using some of her influence in
order to make it happen? Would we characterize Elsie as "power mad"?
What does it say about Elsie that she is willing to spend her "political
capital" on something seems to have nothing to do with her or her family?
(or am I missing something?)
(52) Regarding supplies he needs from the mines
for his church windows, Rev. Richard says, "Ol' Homer usually comes through
after some foot dragging just to show you he don't have to do it. Guess
you know how that goes." Do you know how that goes?
Does Sonny? What does Homer gain from this sort of action?
(53) Rev. Richard shows off his psychological
insight when Sonny asks about the relationship between Dreama and Cuke.
"A man can't hit a woman and stay a man. He becomes a loathsome thing,
even to himself. But the woman who stays with such a man panders to
his darkness. They both risk their souls." What do you think of
the various elements of this philosophy? It doesn't seem to actually
explain the behaviors, but what insights does it give us?
(54) Sonny realizes in this chapter that even
though he considers fellow Rocket Boy O'Dell a friend, he has never been
to O'Dell's house, and there is much about this friend that he doesn't know.
What does this say about their friendship? Do you have such friends?
Is this sort of relationship far more common today than it used to be?
Perhaps you can recall a similar situation where you found out something significant
about your friend that you had not known before.
Elsie and Sonny have lost something from their lives, partly from their own
negligence and partly from circumstances beyond their control. Think
of a time you have experienced this, and write about it. Try to capture
the feelings you had when you realized that your own actions had played
a role in the loss.
(56) At one point, Elsie exclaims, "Poor Henrietta,
why didn't she let me know she was leaving?" Why do you think that happened?
Shortly afterward, she adds, "I always meant to come visit her. I don't
know why I didn't." Do you think you know? (There are probably
several likely reasons.)
(57) Billy says that he is "just tired" of Sonny.
What is it that he's tired of? Have his actions been an overreaction
to Sonny's behavior in his life, or are there other factors? How must
Sonny feel about having this weight dropped at his doorstep? To make
matters worse, Elsie responds to Sonny's angst by saying, "You've been known
to get full of yourself from time to time." Do we have any evidence
that he does? How must he feel about this comment? Do you feel
sorry for Sonny that he is not getting any sympathy? Can you recall
a time when people in your
life seemed to "pile on" like this?
Tag Farmer relates that Dreama had told him that "she just wanted to be a
Coalwood girl." What characteristics do you think Dreama ascribes to
"Coalwood Girls"? Why does she want to be like them? What would
she achieve by this?
What is really at the heart of Sonny's aggravation about Tug & Hug Yates
being considered "Rocket Boys"? How is this offset (or complicated)
by Quentin's analysis that Sonny is a "prig"?
(60) Sherman brings in another poignant
point when he reflects that this is really the guys' last Christmas because when you
leave Coalwood, you're not really a Coalwood Boy anymore - you're not actually
part of the town. This serves to remind all of us of the rites of passage
that change our status in the world. When we change schools, teams,
neighborhoods, and even towns or states, some sort of transformation prevents
us from ever being the same again. It is why Thomas Wolfe says, "You
can't go home again." You should be able to recall at least one instance
in your life when you returned to a place that was special to you at one
time only to find that the relationship had changed so much that you no longer
felt that you belonged. Be sure to consider whether the place has changed,
or whether it is changes within you that are most significant to the change
in the relationship, or some combination of both.
much of this chapter, John Dubonnet acts as though he is the one who owns and runs
the mine, prompting some pretty strong emotions from Sonny especially (and
maybe some disdain from Jake). Can you "analyze" a bit how the
Union organizer might come to think such a thing in this situation?
What motivates him to be so strong in his opinions? When you hear about
his romantic feelings does it change your opinion of his motivations any?
John thinks the loyalty of the miners lies with him, but Sonny knows it really
lies with Homer. Why do you think this is so?
Elsie announces that she has decided not to go to Myrtle Beach, Sonny
is elated, but Elsie seems to have some bitterness about it. This provides
us with two insights into human psychology that make for interesting plot
turns. Elsie has done what she knows she must do, even though it leaves
a bitter taste in her mouth. We all must make decisions sometimes that
we regret or resent, and the knowledge that we have done what we must does
not make the decision any easier. What thoughts do you imagine are going
through Elsie's mind? Conversely, Sonny is pleased by her decision (since
it meets his needs and satisfies his desires) even though he must know that
Elsie is less than fully satisfied by her choice. We often fail to
see fully the view of others when their decision results in our getting what
we want. Is Sonny being selfish in this regard? Either of these
scenarios would make a nice segment of a short story for your notebook.
(63) Elsie tries to make Sonny feel better
about his conflicts with Homer, particularly as they revolve around Poppy.
She points out that Homer has difficulty expressing his deepest feelings,
especially to Sonny, or to admit that he has been wrong in his interpretations
of events. Perhaps this sounds like someone you know. These kinds
of emotional character qualities help to make literary characters much more
real to the reader.
(64) In response to Sonny's aggravation
that Elsie has read his "list" of concerns, Elsie responds that, "Parents
can do any dang thing they want if it's to make sure their kids get brought
up right." It should be easy to see that this statement is both highly
defensible and an obvious
violation of Sonny's rights. Since this is a situation that almost every
teen has experienced, you could write about a time when this happened to
you - how you felt about it and what you said and did. Our Author assumes
that you have been through such a situation, because he expects you to identify
with Sonny without a complete explanation of that character's feelings.
(65) Elsie reveals that she once felt about
Big Creek kids the way Sonny had about the kids from Welch (until he met them).
She relates a story of how she gained her "revenge" when her basketball team
from Gary whipped the "snooty" bunch from Big Creek and taught them a lesson.
Sports often exaggerates our differences with opponents from other geographic,
social, or economic regions and provides motivation to prove ourselves better
in some tangible way than those with whom we compete. Perhaps you have
a story from your own experience in which you encountered "the enemy" and
"taught them a lesson."
briefly mentions that he has asked Melba to the Prom. What do you think
were his reasons and motivations for doing so? An old saying goes that
if we "act in haste" we shall "repent at leisure". Do you think this
saying applies here? How can you imagine this playing into the remainder
of the story?
(67) Following the car disaster, Roy Lee tells
Sonny, "You're just not hero material." Is this statement true, or does
it only apply to certain types of heroes? What are the characteristics of a hero
in a story like this one? Is Sonny the de facto hero because he ends up writing
the story? Is Sonny a different kind of hero than Roy Lee is visualizing?
As a writer, how do you make your main character both heroic and unheroic
at the same time?
Roy Lee also provides a little birth-order philosophy when Sonny asks if
his parents like Jim better. What do you think of his analysis?
Where do you fit in your family's birth order? How would you characterize
the special feelings that come with being a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, middle, last,
or 12th child in a family? Understanding the issues attendant to such
positions makes the characters you write about more believable.
the chapter opens, Sonny ponders Roy Lee's opinions from the previous chapter,
waxing poetic as he describes his "heart in the icy cold vise of truth where
hearts tend to suffer". Why is he being so dramatic in his word usage?
Have you ever experienced this sort of feeling?
(70) Sonny gives us some pretty deep philosophy
when he rejects Rev. Little's interpretation, and says, "It was History,
not God, at the control of the great Potter's Wheel and it ground without
cease, thought, or remorse." Up to now, Sonny seems to have demonstrated
some fairly stable religious values - why does he seem to reject them at
this point? As you think deeply about it, is he actually rejecting those
values? What difference does it make, philosophically, whether it is
History or God at the controls?
(71) Everyone's troubles seem momentarily
suspended by the wedding. Why do certain events seem to make life better
for everyone touched by them? How long does that effect last?
Are the emotions of the wedding attendees exacerbated by the many issues
that are creating tension in Coalwood? (Evidence)
(72) So, who did write "The Book of Love"?
Though human beings in general and teenagers in particular celebrate individuality,
we can easily see that people of certain age groups follow many unwritten
rules when engaged in certain activities (like romance). Is this evidence
of "human nature", coincidence, or are there other forces at work here?
An action that would make sense would be for Sonny to break his date with
Melba (she's attractive and has plenty of time to get another date) so he
could go to the Prom with Ginger (who he has much greater affection for anyway).
What unwritten rules would this break? Would Sonny be a "bad guy" for
doing so? [Would you love
to find the right Big Creek yearbook from the 50's to see who Sonny actually
went to Prom with? And then speculate who is the character known as
(73) Sonny closes the chapter with a tremendous
emotional outburst that is rather embarrassing. It essentially revolves
around his feeling that he has not earned the respect of his father.
Would such an emotional outburst be likely to engender respect? Is
it a universal desire of boys to earn their father's respect? I remember
the actor Burt Reynolds once explaining that much of his bad behavior as
a young man came because he never felt that his father viewed him with any
respect, and claimed, "In the South, you're never really a man until your
father tells you that you are." Can such a thing really hold true?
If so, what happens to boys whose fathers die young?
is surprised to discover that Jim has indeed not quit school. Jim relates
his conversation with Homer, who has told him, "Hickam's never quit.
It isn't in us to quit." While this may be true of the Hickams (and
is certainly part of Mountaineer Morality), what family would admit that
they are quitters?
Why do people cling so firmly to these kinds of "truths"? What are
some other "truths" you can think of? How might you have characters
in your writing admit to the opposite of these truths in order to create
(75) It is noted several times in this book
(and other of Our Author's writings) that Teachers define Coalwood society.
In this chapter, Mary Alice Cox states, "An ignorant mind can be tolerated
as long as it is silent." This is very representative of "old time"
teachers. Have you had any such teachers in your life? Do teachers
still "define society" the way they did in Our Author's schooldays?
Do they define it in any different ways? What favorite sayings do some
of your own teachers have that would be useful to you in your future writing?
One of the basic theories in psychology is the concept of the "collective
unconscious" - the idea that human beings contain internal "memories" of
events which happened to our ancestors. This helps explain how each
generation seems to possess a bit more information and "street smarts" than
their predecessors. Rev. Little touches on this when Sonny asks him
about an afterlife, saying, "...as long as one of us is still alive, all
our spirits go on." What do you think of this philosophy? Is
it comforting to imagine that not only the things we do but also the things we think
may continue on after us? Have you ever had the feeling that you knew
something though you could not remember having ever studied or experienced
it? Could this be part of your collective unconscious?
(77) Rev. Little remarks that Homer is may not
be who Sonny wants him to be, but that Sonny needs to see him as he really
is. Our literature abounds with stories about parents trying
to shape their children, and the children rebelling as they try to discover
who they really are. The reality is that children try to shape parents
just as frequently, making them into something they really aren't.
Try writing a vignette in which you recount a time you have tried to do that
(and most likely failed).
(78) The miners attack 11 East now with ferocity,
working side-by-side with foremen they have previously been at odds with.
This relationship is particularly personified in the conflict between Homer
and John Dubonnet. Our Author refers to the long wall as a "common
enemy" now to be defeated by all concerned. This concept is regularly
at the heart of sports competition. What are some other situations
from books you have read in which this theme plays an important role?
Why do old grievances seem forgotten when we have a common enemy to face?
Why do people seem to be stronger, fiercer, and more competitive when in
(79) Mr. Todd gives Sonny an emotional sock
in the jaw when he says, "...a boy shouldn't think something about his father
when the truth's a whole different thing." This could actually be viewed
in a number of different ways when taken out of context, but within this
story it amplifies his next action, which is to give Sonny the Christmas
presents Homer has kept for him. These gifts, in connection to the
statement, forces Sonny to think differently about his father, though Our
Author does not dwell on it now. Why do you think he lets the issue
rest for the moment? What do the gifts tell us about Homer and his
true feelings for Sonny? Have you ever had occasion to find out a piece
of information that it wasn't yet time for you to know? How did that
change your relationship with the other person in the equation?
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"
(81) 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?
does the finale include a trip down to Rev. Little's church? Is it
simply to close one more plot line, or is there more to it than that?
Does it serve at all to show us how different people celebrate differently?
Are the differences really all that pronounced in Coalwood, or does this
scene help to show how similar people are?
(83) Sonny wistfully appreciates being a
boy "...whose mother loved him enough to give him the gift of inspired vexations
so that he could rise above his own petty ones." The insight here is
staggering. How many teenagers realize that most of what irritates
them is really insignificant? How many of any of us can be appreciative
of those who irritate us, even when it produces something useful? (I
am reminded here of the analogy of the grain of sand in the oyster.
If you don't understand that analogy, look it up.) How many of us are
willing to grant the people in our lives the honor of recognizing their important
roles in shaping us, especially when the thing they provide is vexing?
Who in your life provides the "inspired vexations" you need to become the
best person possible?
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