Rocket Boys

Mr. Isaac Bykovski Character Analysis

A friendly miner who assists Homer with building rockets at many points in Rocket Boys. Mr. Isaac Bykovski teaches Homer how to weld and design nozzles. Homer Sr. punishes him for encouraging Homer’s experiments by relegating him to an unpopular part of the coal mine, but Bykovski continues to give Homer useful advice. Ultimately, Bykovski dies in a mining accident—a tragedy for which Homer irrationally blames himself.

Mr. Isaac Bykovski Quotes in Rocket Boys

The Rocket Boys quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Isaac Bykovski or refer to Mr. Isaac Bykovski. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Cold War and the Space Race Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Dell edition of Rocket Boys published in 2000.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“You want to thank me.” He nodded toward the box. “Make these fly. Show your dad what you and I did together.”
My father had clearly, in no uncertain terms, told me to stop building rockets. The BCMA was now an outlaw organization. I don’t know why, but that felt good. I had the urge to hug Mr. Bykovski, but resisted it. Instead, I stood straight and tall, and said firmly, and what I hoped was manfully, “Yes, sir. You can count on me.”

Related Characters: Homer Hickam Jr. (speaker), Mr. Isaac Bykovski (speaker), Homer Hickam Sr.
Related Symbols: Rockets
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 12 Quotes

Machining and materials for gravel. Gravel, like all things in Coalwood, could be supplied by my father. After I completed my engineering drawing of the nozzle, there was nothing to do but to go up to the mine. Dad looked up from his desk when I entered his office. “I heard you’ve been talking to Ike Bykovski,” he said. “And now you’re visiting Leon Ferro. You get around, don’t you?”

Related Characters: Homer Hickam Jr. (speaker), Homer Hickam Sr. (speaker), Mr. Isaac Bykovski, Mr. Leon Ferro
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 18 Quotes

“Ike built your rockets,” Doc said resolutely, “because he wanted the best for you, the same as if you were his own son. You and all the children in Coalwood belong to all the people. It’s an unwritten law, but that’s the way everybody feels.”

Related Characters: Homer Hickam Jr. (speaker), “Doc” Lassiter (speaker), Mr. Isaac Bykovski
Related Symbols: Rockets
Page Number: 248
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Mr. Isaac Bykovski Character Timeline in Rocket Boys

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Isaac Bykovski appears in Rocket Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: Mr. Bykovski
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...weld a nozzle to the bottom of their rocket. Homer decides to approach Mr. Isaac Bykovski about this. He is the father of Esther, a former classmate of Homer’s who was... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
Homer goes to Mr. Bykovski’s house. There, he tells Bykovski that he wants help building a rocket by welding a... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
The next day, Homer brings another tube to Mr. Bykovski, asking him to weld a washer to it. Bykovski obliges, saying that steel will be... (full context)
Chapter 7: Cape Coalwood
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...around” with rockets. He collects Homer’s saltpeter and powdered glue. Guessing correctly that it was Bykovski who helped Homer, Homer Sr. says that he’ll “take care” of Bykovski. (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
The next day, Homer goes to visit Mr. Bykovski. Bykovski explains that Homer Sr. fired him from the machine shop and sent him to... (full context)
Chapter 8: Construction of the Cape
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...on the BCMA, Homer Sr. would be supporting him whole-heartedly. Homer Sr. mentions that Mr. Bykovski wants to teach Homer more about welding—Homer is excited with this news. As his father... (full context)
Chapter 9: Jake Mosby (Auks V-VIII)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
The next weekend, Homer gets a visit from Mr. Bykovski, who offers to teach Homer more welding. Homer senses that Homer Sr. sent Bykovski, perhaps... (full context)
Chapter 11: Rocket Candy: Auks XII-XIII
The Cold War and the Space Race Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...engineer for von Braun instead. Homer Sr. is visibly disappointed, and he adds that Mr. Bykovski would be disappointed too. When Homer asks his father what he means, Homer Sr. explains... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Machinists: Auks XIV-XV
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...science again. Nevertheless, he can’t shake the comment Homer Sr. made about von Braun, Mr. Bykovski, and the Jews. (full context)
The Cold War and the Space Race Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Homer goes to visit Mr. Bykovski at his home, but finds that he’s at work. Instead, he talks to Mrs. Mary... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Bump
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...connects to a ventilation shaft, giving them a source of air. Horrified, Homer sees Mrs. Bykovski without her husband, and realizes that he must be trapped underground. (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...they argue, the miners hoist a few of their trapped coworkers up. Homer notices Mr. Bykovski being carried away on a stretcher. There are cries that everyone else is alive—cries which... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
...begins to cry, and he tearfully explains that if it hadn’t been for him, Mr. Bykovski wouldn’t have been relegated to the mines, and wouldn’t have been injured. Doc insists that... (full context)
Chapter 19: Picking Up and Going On: Auk XXI
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Ever since witnessing Mr. Bykovski’s death, Homer becomes sullen and lonely. He talks to his parents as little as possible.... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...Mr. Dubonnet. Dubonnet tries to tell Homer that he can’t hold himself responsible for Mr. Bykovski’s death, but Homer ignores him. (full context)
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
...what this explanation is, he rushes to the bus stop immediately. There, he finds Mrs. Bykovski: she’s leaving Coalwood to live with her relatives. Homer tells her that he’s responsible for... (full context)
The Cold War and the Space Race Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Group Theme Icon
Dreams, Ambition, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Parents and Children Theme Icon
Hard Work, Scarcity, Science, and Innovation Theme Icon
Three weeks after Mr. Bykovski’s death, Homer organizes another rocket launching—he’s taken Mrs. Bykovski’s advice to heart. Nevertheless, he looks... (full context)