October Sky Vs. Rocket Boys Analysis University Essay Example

October Sky Vs. Rocket Boys Have you ever read a book and later watched the movie version only to find out that they are completely different? In Homer Hickam’s book, “October Sky” and the film adaptation by Joe Johnstun, the main character Sonny Hickam is portrayed differently. His physical characteristics, personal goals, motivation, and his family. There are just a few changes between the book and movie. One major contrast is Sonny and his father’s relationship as it coincides with the coal mines. The book goes more into detail about the character’s emotions, dreams, and goals, than does the movie.

For example, the book’s in depth perception of Sonny’s dream to work at Cape Canaveral. His dream is realized when he is offered a job as a coal mining engineer. However, in the movie, Sonny’s dream is crushed when he is basically forced to work in the coal mines. In the book, Sonny explores several ways to achieve his goals mainly through persistence and determination. Sonny is never given a chance to pursue his dream as he loses interest in rockets because he settles for working in the coal mine. In an ironic twist, Sonny’s mother is more supportive of his dream in the book.

However, in the movie, his mother ignores his dream by remaining non-objective to his decision to enter the coal mines. You recognize this by her passive body language in the movie versus her verbal dissatisfaction in the book. One final comparison between the book and the movie is Sonny’s physical appearance. The book portrays Sonny as a very clean-cut, well dressed individual, and somewhat as a book worm or nerdy-type. In the movie Sonny’s attire is more relaxed, loose, yet preppy. He does not wear glasses in the movie and his personality is more outgoing.

This dramatically increases his popularity in the movie, compared to more of a loner in the book. In conclusion, “October Sky”, whether reading the book or watching the movie at home, the plot basically focuses on family triumphs and overcoming overwhelming odds. However, there are countless differences between Hickam’s and Johnstun’s portrayal of Sonny and his family. Truly the book challenges the reader to use his or her imagination. Meanwhile, the movie version is inclined to appeal to our Hollywood perception, thus adding to or taking away from the book. The book is considered the most intriguing in many editorial circles.

“Degas, C’est Moi” By David Ives

In David Ives’ play “Degas, C’est Moi” found in his Carpe Diem themed collection of one-act plays Time Flies the protagonist Ed daydreams out loud by pretending to be Edgar Degas for a full day.

From his spur of the moment decision in the morning to his epiphany at night Ed epitomizes the desires of the human spirit – including humanity’s desire for immortality and greatness. Due to the play’s universal themes this one-act can be characterized as a ‘fine’ play. Among other qualities this play is characterized by its well established credibility, intrigue, richness, gravity, pertinence, economy, intensity, and celebration. The credibility and intrigue of a play address the believability of the characters and events in the play and how well it involves its audience in the story.

A strong and credible script should be, as Louis E. Catron states in his book The Elements of Playwriting, “plausible, probable, and playable. ” This means that the play’s plot should flow logically and it characters should be believable. A good a script also appeals to the inherently voyeuristic nature of readers or audience members. Readers and audience members should be invested in the characters and the action of a play. They should be eager to discover how the story will unfold and what will happen next. For example, “Degas, C’est Moi” chronicles a rather mundane day in Ed’s life.

He picks up the dry cleaning, goes to a museum, buys a donut, and has dinner with his wife. In order to cope with this humdrum day, and possibly humdrum life, Ed occupies himself by taking on the role of Edgar Degas. And even though he wonders “is it Edgar, or Edouard” and admits that he does not know much about him he still acts like he thinks a “dead French, impressionist painter” would in the 21st century (pg 21). Ed, despite his quirks, maintains his credibility as a character. Instead of doing something completely unbelievable, he simple acts out his daily fantasy – something a lot of people wish they could do.

His escape from reality adds intrigue to the play. Readers and audience members are curious to see how Ed will handle normal, daily situations as Degas and how the people he encounters will react to him. Throughout the play there is also the lingering question of whether Ed will continue to be Degas or whether he will break character and be brought back to reality of some point. By spicing up his own life, Ed creates a scenario that both entertains and provokes the play’s audience. “Degas, C’est Moi” contains a richness that provokes thought and adds to the intrigue of the play.

A play’s richness addresses the depth to which a play develops its characters, its plot, its dialogue, and its action. A play that is characterized by its richness will have characters that help readers and audience members identify with the story, dialogue that provides clues of events to come, and language that offers insight and provokes thought. One of the most valuable effects of the richness in Ives’ “Degas, C’est Moi” is the insight it provides readers and audience members into the mind of Ed. Readers and audience members glean that despite acting out his daydream Ed is not crazy.

By noting “and okay granted, I’m not French, dead or a painter of any kind” Ed proves that he is not having a mental break and that he knows he is not Degas (pg 21). Furthermore, Ed’s exchanges with his wife Doris reveal that he may reenact his fantasy fairly regularly and not just as a onetime thing. When he tells her he has been Degas all day she responds by saying “the toilets erupted again. The women’s room was like Vesuvius” (pg 30). Not only is she entirely unsurprised by his whims, but she does not even acknowledge it.

It is entirely possible that Doris watches Ed embody noteworthy figures regularly. The uncertainty of the couple’s life outside of the scope of the play’s one day time frame leaves readers and audience members to imagine how Ed regularly lives his life. By leaving a few minor loose ends Ives lets readers construct their own back-story for the characters. This uncertainty heightens the play’s richness because it makes the play unique and individualized to each different reader and audience member. Ed’s motivations relate to both the richness of the play and the play’s gravity and pertinence.

The gravity of the play refers to the importance of a play’s theme, while a play’s pertinence refers to the story’s concern with the human predicament. One of the reasons Ed morphs into Degas is to combat his own feelings of anonymity and his lack of purpose. Being someone great, being someone ‘immortal’ brings a sense of freshness to his entire life. When he wakes up in the morning he is mesmerized by his surroundings. “This is wonderful! In the bathroom, everything seems transformed yet nothing has changed” he observantly remarks (pg 22).

To him, even the “very porcelain pullulates with possibilities” (pg 22). Yet as the day comes to end his Degas persona slips away from him. Ed laments that though he always has a voice in his head “now, tonight, no one is listening” (pg 31). He notes: “That presence that always listened in at the back of my mind is no longer there. Nor is there a presence behind there listening in. Nor a presence behind that, nor behind that, nor behind that. All the way back to the back of my mind, no one is listening in. The story of my life is going unwatched. Unheard. I am alone. ” (pg 31).

His sentiments capture one of the most fundamental aspects of human nature. Every individual wants to have a life worth watching, a meaningful life. Individuals will always strive for more than the mundane, more than routine. Feeling trapped in his life, Ed escapes by being someone else. Yet despite all his fantasies Ed loves Doris and he appreciates his life. He realizes that even though he dreams about being someone else, he would not trade his life for the world. “Degas” he says before he goes to bed “who needs him” (pg 32). The gravity of the play or the play’s theme becomes apparent in this last scene.

Ed learns to value the life he has and not the life he pretended to have. Ives seems to be telling readers to ‘seize the day’ and ‘value the life they have. ’Yet in addition to qualities like credibility, intrigue, richness, and gravity a fine play is also defined by its technical aspects. Technical aspects of a fine play include its economy and intensity. A play’s economy refers to the number of its characters and sets. Ideally in a ‘fine play’ the playwright will compress the number of sets and characters required for the play’s action in order to realistically transition a script into a production.

“Degas, C’est Moi” could easily have been an impossible play to stage because Ed is constantly traveling from one destination to another. Ives, however, strategically created the script in a way that it could be staged using just one set. It is possible for “Degas, C’est Moi” to be staged using moving props. Similarly, though Ives’ may have written a script with more speaking characters than a typical one-act play he still designed it with staging in mind. During the play Ed never interacts with more than one character at a time and none of the superfluous characters have interactions with anyone besides Ed.

This keeps the audience from becoming confused by and overwhelmed with the actions on the stage. The economy of fine plays like “Degas, C’est Moi” directly influences the play’s intensity. Playwrights and directors use the economy of a play to control the intensity of that play. They can add or eliminate superfluous elements of a play in order to change the tone of the production. The intensity of a play can range from harsh, abrasive, and explosive to calm and tranquil. For instance, at one point in the story Ed is overwhelmed by his anonymity in such a crowded city.

In order to illustrate his anxiousness and overwhelmed state Ives creates a scene where swarms of extras surround Ed and added sounds are projected onto the stage. As people enter and pass him he observes: “To all these people I could be anyone! And if I’m anyone – who are all these people? (More people pass him. ) And yet… And yet maybe the other Degas walked this invisibly through Paris. (We hear a French accordion). Maybe he too was rudely bumped into by the bourgeoisie on the upper Left Bank… (A Pedestrian bumps into him as a Worker enters carrying a crate loaded with cabbages).

Shouted at by workers at the Key Food de Montparnasse… (pg 103). Ed’s anonymity is emphasized by the chaos of this scene. The added distractions make the intensity of the play heightened and more abrasive. Celebration is the last and arguably most important quality of a fine play. It occurs when a play’s theme affirms the value of life even if the tone of the play is not necessarily uplifting. In the end of “Degas, C’est Moi” Ed recognizes the value of his own, seemingly insignificant life. In “Degas, C’est Moi” the quality of celebration ties directly into its qualities gravity and pertinence.

Celebrate life. Carpe diem. Ed escapes the monotony of his boring life by pretending to by Edgar Degas for a day. Frustrated with the anonymity of his own life he seeks to achieve some sort of immortality and greatness. In the end, however, he recognizes the value of his own boring life. Due to its universal themes David Ives’ “Degas, C’est Moi” qualifies as a fine play. It contains all of the traditional qualities of a fine play including credibility, intrigue, richness, gravity, pertinence, economy, intensity, and celebration.

Location: A Strategy Of Place


Professor Juan Alcacer, a teacher in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, emphasizes the importance of adopting a long-term geographic strategic approach when expanding businesses. Regardless of whether the expansion is within a nearby town or internationally, this article stresses the significance of considering tactical factors and timing when opening new operations. Furthermore, it discusses the essential factors that need to be evaluated when expanding business operations globally.

The article discusses various companies and business firms, including Walmart Company and Pixar Company, which serve as illustrations to elaborate on the presented ideas. Professor Alcacer highlights three key elements related to a company’s strategic value: the advantage of playing strategic chess over tactical checkers, and the notion that the decision to expand is occasionally influenced by misguided motivations.

Many companies are tempted to expand their operations to new locations, viewing geographic strategy as a short-term checkers match instead of a long-term chess game. Professor Alcacer emphasizes the importance of considering geographic strategy as a long-term chess game. Many companies assume that if their business is successful in one location, it will automatically be successful in other locations, leading them to engage in expansion.

The success of the Walmart Company illustrates strategic expansion. Owned by Sam Walton, this variety store strategically opens branches in small rural towns and later expands to urban areas. The article emphasizes the significance of not only financial resources but also the time and energy invested by managers in ensuring the company’s successful expansion. Additionally, it highlights the importance of internal linkages in expanding business, both locally and internationally.


Within our community, I have observed a growth in local businesses and eateries. However, their outcomes have varied; some have thrived while others have not. As an individual who is still in my teenage years at 17, I do not possess the necessary understanding of the elements to contemplate when extending operations to fresh sites. Nonetheless, having perused this article, I now grasp the importance of regarding geographic strategy as a protracted game akin to chess rather than a fleeting game resembling checkers.

Just as chess requires ample time for strategizing and selecting the optimal move against an opponent, business expansion also calls for careful consideration of the time needed to make a wise decision about the location for the expanded operation. This is crucial in ensuring its success.

Just like in chess, choosing the wrong move can lead to losing and giving the opponent an opportunity to win. This concept also applies to business expansion. If a company picks an inappropriate location for their operations without valid justification, they may lose their concentration and ultimately fail. Hence, it is crucial for companies to carefully select a location, similar to making the initial move in a game of chess.

It is important for companies to understand that what works in rural areas may not work in urban communities, and vice versa. Timing and location are key factors for success. Additionally, a company’s actions and initiatives are critical in achieving success. Evaluating the potential long-term risks of expansion is also essential.

The negative consequences of a company’s expansion can result in a weakened organization and hinder its effectiveness. Thus, it is crucial for companies to remain adaptable and prepared for unforeseen outcomes. I concur with Associate Professor Juan Alcacer’s perspective that numerous companies expand for less than ideal reasons. It is important to emphasize the importance of being a strategic chess player rather than solely engaging in tactical checkers.

Strategic expansion is essential for a company rather than tactical expansion, as solely relying on the affordability or attractiveness of the location may result in hiring cheap labor, which is not advisable. Merely depending on cost reduction for expansion does not ensure a competitive advantage over competitors.

Professor Juan Alcacer’s assertion that prioritizing low costs to the detriment of other factors is a mistake is accurate. From a strategic standpoint, it is crucial for companies to take into account the actions of other companies in the target market in order to gain a competitive edge when expanding. Before embarking on expansion, I place significant importance on studying the culture of the target location. “Countries and consumers vary; the population in India differs from that of the United States.”

This statement caught my attention. It is crucial for a business to tailor its services and products to fit the local culture when expanding operations. This involves considering the local tastes and lifestyles, as well as grasping what people in a specific location desire. For instance, if a restaurant aims to expand both internationally and locally, it must acquaint itself with the local culture and take into account the preferences of people in that area in order to attain success.

The previous sections mention the importance of flexibility for a company’s expansion. Flexibility enhances competitive advantage, as well as the quality and services provided by the company. A prime example of a company demonstrating flexibility, excellent quality, and services is McDonald’s, the renowned fast food restaurant established by Ray Kroc. McDonald’s has achieved great success in expanding its operations and possesses a strong competitive advantage.

McDonald’s is renowned worldwide for its excellent food quality, efficient quick service, and enjoyable environments in all of their branches across the globe. Taking this into consideration, McDonald’s has effectively adapted and enhanced their offerings to meet the unique needs of customers in different geographical locations, which sets them apart from competitors. I also concur with Professor Juan Alcacer’s viewpoint that strategic location assessment should consider factors such as available resources, support systems, and the company’s ability to gain a competitive advantage.


  1. What is the most effective strategy that a company must do prior to global or international expansion?
  2. In targeting a location prior for expansion, what do companies need to consider so that by the time the shop has been established their efforts and sacrifices will not go into nothing?
  3. How do expanded operations of companies maintain competitive advantage over other companies?

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