Rocket Boys

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William Laird Character Analysis

The son of George L. Carter, William Laird is a charismatic and intelligent figure who oversees mining in Coalwood for years, and wields a huge amount of power over the townspeople. Laird, nicknamed “The Captain,” ensures that the quality of the miners’ lives is very high—he installs churches, parks, and schools throughout the town. Laird is also instrumental in promoting Homer Hickam Sr. to his position as the superintendent of the mine in Coalwood.
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William Laird Character Timeline in Rocket Boys

The timeline below shows where the character William Laird appears in Rocket Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Coalwood
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...and medical services. Under Carter’s guidance, Coalwood became an important mining site. Carter’s son, William Laird, was a Stanford graduate and a talented engineer, whom everyone called “The Captain.” Laird ensured... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
Homer’s father has been working for the mine since he was 22 years old. Laird recognized that Homer Hickam Sr. was an intelligent man, and quickly promoted him to foreman.... (full context)
Chapter 2: Sputnik
Parents and Children Theme Icon
When Homer is 11 years old, The Captain retires, and Homer Sr. takes his job. Homer Sr. moves his family into The Captain’s... (full context)
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...company that owns Coalwood. Many of the miners in Caretta hate Homer Sr. for taking The Captain ’s job. There’s also Premier, a “red light” area where prostitutes hang out. The next... (full context)