Describe a conflict in the text. Explain how the conflict helped you to understand human nature.
In Freedom Writers a new teacher is brought in the help the students and she causes them to develop into better people. Eva’s internal conflict describes aspects of human nature such as the desire to do what is easy rather than what is right. However, it also proves that there is good within everyone to do the right thing. Director Richard LaGravenese uses point of view, close-ups, dialogue, non-diegetic sound and a hand-held camera to prove the fundamental aspects of human nature.
During the Courtroom scene, Eva is on the witness stand as she is a witness to the death of Sindy’s boyfriend and has the option to either turn in Paco, who committed the crime or Grant Rice who is accused of it. This decision is difficult for Eva because Paco is part of her gang and she has been taught from a young age to defend her gang. LaGravenese’s careful crafting of the scene utilises close-ups and dialogue to show the clear internal conflict within Eva. The viewer sees close-ups of Eva on the witness stand which show her facial expression. She begins with a straight face and is confident, her dialogue adds to this sense of confidence as she easily speaks fluidly and without hesitancy. However, as she comes to her decision, her eyebrows begin to shift showing that she is struggling and her speech becomes more faltered. This shows that she is contemplating whether to do what is right and turn Paco in or what is easy and turn Grant Rice in. She eventually says, “I saw…I saw… Paco did it. Paco killed the guy.” This sense of hesitancy shows that she is still unsure even moments before. Additionally, by repeating herself she shows the uneasiness she feels. She does not feel confident in her words and as a result, feels the need to repeat herself. This proves the fundamental aspect of human nature that it is best to tell the truth despite the outcomes. Although Eva is considering lying, she realises that the way to make the world a better place is to tell the truth so that people get the correct consequences for their actions.
The director carefully incorporates non-diegetic sound to prove the idea that despite the influences in our lives it is better to do make the right decision rather than the easy decision. The acoustic guitar from the opening scene is incorporated into the Courtroom Scene. The music begins as Eva starts to falter with her evidence and continues until the end of the scene, only pausing when Eva says that Paco killed Sindy’s boyfriend. The music grows louder towards the end of the scene creating a sense of tension and proving Eva is struggling with her decision. This is also combined with the use of a hand-held camera. The camera’s shakiness symbolises the uneasiness to make the right decision within Eva. They combine together to prove the idea that it requires a great sense of courage to do the right thing. However, doing the right thing it has the correct impacts on those most affected by the decision. There will often be easier ways to live life however, these paths are not going to put you in the right direction to live a happy and successful life. In doing the right thing, you are setting yourself up for success and being a better person.
As humans, we are influenced by society to act and think in a certain way. Eva has been taught by her father and her gang to stand up for her gang, to fight for her life and not care very much about those who are not in her gang. However, Ms Gruwell alters her beliefs causing her to have this internal conflict. The director uses point of view shots to show the viewer that all actions have consequences. The viewer sees different groups of the audience from Eva’s point of view. There are shots of Grant Rice and his family. If Eva turns him in, he will never get to lead the normal life he deserves and neither will his family. The viewer also sees Sindy, this shows that if Grant Rice is turned in, Sindy will never get justice for her boyfriend’s murder. However, shots are also seen of Paco and Eva’s mother. This proves that if she turns Paco in, she will face consequences. She might get beaten up and her father might not want to talk to her since he went to prison standing up for his gang and she will not protect their gang. This proves the idea that Eva will face consequences for her actions either personally or those within her life will. In life we have a choice as to the way we will act, most things we do in life are a choice despite how small they seem. When faced with big decisions it is easy to give up and believe that if we do nothing things will eventually get better. However, when we are put on the spot and have to make life-changing decisions we realise that whatever we do there will be effects, whether they are good or bad depends on whether we do what is right or what is easy. Life will keep going, but peoples’ lives will be changed forever based on our actions and humanity needs to realise that despite the pressure we receive, making the right decision will have a much better impact on most peoples’ lives than making the easy decision.
Societies pressures cause people to make decisions that negatively impact those that they should not. However, during Eva’s internal conflict the use of point of view shots, close-ups, dialogue, non-diegetic sound and handheld camera proves that even in the worst of times by making the right decisions humanity can change and become a better place. Exactly how Ms Gruwell made the students in her class better people.