Homer Hickam: ENFP

Guest Post by Jessica Prescott, INFJ

October Sky

Dominant Extroverted Intuition (Ne): Homer Hickam is nothing if not a dreamer. He loves new ideas, hates to be cooped up in a small mining town, and, more than anything, longs for a glimpse of the “outside world.” His original (and strongest) motivation to carry out his rocketry project is not a desire to understand how rocket science works, but simply a romantic fascination with the mere idea of rocketry—the idea that human beings can be capable of sending objects up into space. He isn’t shy about sharing his dreams with others, either, but is perfectly willing to blurt out his latest plan at the breakfast table: “I’m gonna build a rocket.” One of Homer’s greatest assets is his optimism—his ability to see possibilities where others see only obstacles. Even though no student from Coalwood has ever won the science fair before, Homer is firmly convinced that he and his friends can pull it off—and he manages to convince them to believe it, too.

Auxiliary Introverted Feeling (Fi): Homer is also a strong individualist. He’s willing to put up with near-universal ridicule from his peers, discouragement from his principal, and—ultimately—rejection from his own father, all for the sake of following his dreams. At the same time, Homer can be quite sensitive; it’s obvious, for example, that he’s deeply hurt by the misunderstanding and neglect he receives from his dad. However, he never expresses these hurt feelings verbally—until the climax of the story, when everything comes pouring out in a violent outburst: “Yeah, I’ll go! I’ll go! And I’ll be gone forever! I won’t even look back!” Homer doesn’t have a wide circle of friends, but is extremely loyal to those friends he does have—Roy Lee, O’Dell, and Quentin. Interestingly, he deliberately chooses to befriend Quentin despite Roy Lee’s warnings that it will do irreparable damage to his social reputation—again, showing his individualist tendencies. Homer also forms a close personal bond with his teacher, Miss Reilly.

Tertiary Extroverted Thinking (Te): Homer has no problem with using and trusting external evidence; when facing the accusation that one of his stray rockets caused a wildfire in the nearby woods, Homer comes up with a mathematical equation to prove—conclusively—that the charge is false. Nor does he have any problem with articulating his thoughts clearly: “You see, Mr. Turner, that rocket fell for about fourteen seconds, which means it flew to an altitude of three thousand feet, according to the equation S = 0.5at2 . . .” He can be quite persuasive, in fact; as witnessed by his ability to convince Roy Lee and O’Dell to join him in his apparently hair-brained rocketry enterprise, despite all the inconvenience and trouble it meant for them. Homer isn’t a natural organizer, but once he becomes the de facto boss of the Rocket Boys, he manages to provide them with fairly effective leadership.

Inferior Introverted Sensing (Si): Homer isn’t sentimental about the past in any way—something which helps put him on a direct collision course with his father, a high-order Si user. Homer has trouble understanding why his dad is so set on having him become a miner, simply because it’s the traditional occupation for men from his family and his town. He isn’t afraid to think realistically about the future, either; but is willing to state openly what his dad refuses to acknowledge—that the local mining industry has entered an irreversible downhill slide and has no viable future to offer him and his friends: “The town’s dying, the mine is dying . . .” At the same time, though, Homer isn’t an all-out rebel; he cares deeply about his relationship with his father, and manages to mend fences with him by the end of the film. Homer isn’t particularly good with sensory information and isn’t always aware of his environment—which is one reason why he needs Roy Lee (Se-dom).

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