“Describe a challenge a character faced in the text. Explain how her response to the challenge helped you understand human nature, referring to the effects of visual and oral features in your discussion.”
It is normal for people to feel pressure to give up when the task seems impossible. In “Freedom Writers” directed by Richard LaGravenese, an unexperienced young white female, Erin Gruwell learns to overcome the challenge of teaching unmotivated underprivileged teenagers. Her responses to the challenge help me understand how if you keep trying you will be able to overcome any issues that get thrown at you. As her character gradually becomes better at dealing with the teenagers, she is able to give them a well- rounded education and motivate them to continue coming to school.
Erin is a white, young female teacher about to teach her first class at newly integrated Woodrow Wilson Classical High School. She experiences a significant challenge of teaching difficult teenagers. They are unmotivated difficult teenagers because they have had very hard experience growing up and have learned to never trust white people as the world is unfair to them. She overcomes this challenge by being persistent so over time the students start to trust her and rather than seeing her as a threat they begin to enjoy learning.
One thing Erin’s response to her challenge helps me understand about human nature is that when things get hard, we will usually succeed and do really well unless we give up early when things are starting to get hard. A quote by Erin which shows why she is fighting for the students is “And I thought, "God, by the time. "you’re defending a kid in a courtroom, the battles already lost. "
I think the real fighting, should happen here in the classroom.” This sentence helps show how it is human nature for people to give up and so the kids end up in the courtroom, however if you keep trying right from the start you will be able to prevent the student going to court. However as shown in the movie ‘The Freedom Writers’ when Erin fought hard from the start and never gave up all her students were able to be successful and make a difference in their learning. The film technique of a long shot of the fight at the start draws viewers attention to how at the start Erin was uncapable of controlling her students and they did not care about receiving an education. The director clearly uses this technique to allow us to see a range of students and Erin’s expressions. It makes the audience think that while we may look shocked if we were to experience such a scene many of the students looked relaxed like this happens all the time. To these students it is normal to fight to show dominance over other gangs. This leads me to think about how often people will put on a façade of not caring because they are afraid of looking weak and losing hope as their struggles can seem too big to overcome.
Later in the film Erin faces up to her challenge and helps me understand how most people would have given up by that stage. Over the film Erin changes from inexperienced to a persistent confident teacher. She kept helping her kids reach their full potential in and out of the classroom. An example which shows she has kept fighting is the use of Erin’s costume throughout the film. When she first started teaching, she wore a formal fancy two-piece suit with a string of pearls around her neck. This showed that she was a perfectionist and that everything in her life was in order unlike the students’ lives. As we go through the film her costume changes and becomes more relaxed as she faces more challenges and becomes a better teacher. It shows that as time goes on, she cares less about the front she is putting up as a teacher and becomes more invested in her teaching and helping her students improve. The directors use of costume helps to show Erin’s change in mindset. This example helps reinforce the understanding that human beings are prone to giving up but if we keep fighting, we will receive unbelievable results. I personally believe that in the moment when we are struggling, we need to practise not giving up so we can stop holding ourselves back because we are scared of the future, but to instead look forward to the discomfort that may come knowing that it will help us improve as a person.
Erin Gruwell faced many challenges in the film but to me her crucial challenge was her challenge of motivating her students. Her response to this challenge proved how although it is human nature to want to give up in difficult situations, but and we often give up too early and lose the chance to make a difference- in our life or in others, it is better to persevere. The directors use of Erin and her challenge helps to show how human nature can be influenced by the difficulties we face. Erin’s conflict helped to develop the theme of being persistent. Her conflict emphasised how we should keep fighting when we are struggling, as sometimes the journey of fightin