"There is one thing I have learned about life, it's that if you want to be happy you have to learn how to be happy on your own"-Daniel James Brown Pg. 43
Progress Report #3: theme By Derek Oczypok
Theme Development #2
The overriding theme in this novel is the theme of acceptance and teamwork. Our main character Joe Rantz muse overcome his independent nature so as to make it into the Washington rowing team, but even more so if he wants to place in the first boat and go to the olympics. This is the story of how he does this while also beginning to reconcile with his very distant family
Theme Development #3
"The boys from Washington were officially the United States eight-oared Olympic rowing team, and good to go to Berlin"-Daniel James Brown Pg. 161
"In the end there were only 9 seats in the boat" -Daniel James Brown Pg 9
This themes precedent occurs early in the story when we learn about Joe's troubled background. Joe has never had a sturdy family, and if so it was only for a short time. After a period of time Joe's family left him completely when he was 15 years old and he was forced to fend for himself during the great depression. This plot point establishes Joes fear of trusting others for fear of abandonment. He believes that he is the only person who cares for his well-being
Once Joe makes the team his coaches see the potential in him, however they see a large inconsistency in his rowing. They do not pry into these events, however they move him around into different boats to no avail. "he sometimes seems he is in his own world while ignoring the boat". This quote shows how Joe still does not trust his boat which is problematic because of the nature of the sport.
"He(Joe) rowed powerfully but decidedly in his own way,and his own way looked to be largely ineffective" - Daniel James Brown Pg 68
As the years progress Joe's boat begins to get their"swing" or rhythm together and begin to win races. As they keep breaking records they become closer as a team and Joe finally starts to open up to them. Joe also begins to reconcile with his father with who he has been out of contact with for a while now. Joe and his boat finally have a chance to prove to the world that you don't have to be rich or powerful to compete. The Washington crew team is headed for the Olympics.
As the boys travel to Berlin they nail the first few heats when suddenly their first seat falls ill. It is the last race and they must race and they do, even with a sick man in the boat,. It looks like they may not make it but they pull ahead at the last minute defeating Germany. Joe finally was able to work together with his boat-mates and win the olympics. When he returns home he and his father make amends and Joe learns that sometimes its ok to trust people even if it is hard to.
"Joe moved back in with his father while he finished college at the University of Washington"- Daniel James Brown pg 210