Explain an important character or individual in the text. Explain how the character or individual is or is not a role model for teenagers.
The concept of change is important within teenagers, as people get older, they change and develop. Individuals can become better people by embracing this change, or if they decide to neglect it, they will suffer. Freedom Writers is about the impact of a new teacher on her students and how she causes change within each of them. One character who is a role model for teenagers is Eva. This is because she embraces the change to make herself a better person. By the conclusion of the film, Eva’s morals prove that you must be flexible and deal with what is going on in your life head-on. Although change may be scary it helps you to become a better person. Director Richard LaGravenese also suggests that to be the person you want to become you cannot let the social barriers and societal pressures and rules define you.
Eva is not perfect. That is true with every individual because nobody is perfect. She has her flaws because similarly to every individual she makes mistakes. This is seen through the use of a close-up, costume and facial expression. When Eva first walks into Room 203, she is wearing a black jacket, purple shirt and denim overalls. These clothes are quite harsh and show she thinks she is better than school. She is also wearing lots of make-up and jewellery. Through this costuming the director is trying to convey the idea that in society there are people who think they are of higher status than others. When Eva enters the class wearing dominating clothing, she sets a strong presence for the rest of the class. Her facial expression further conveys this idea because she has a hard straight face showing she thinks she is above her teacher and education and shouldn’t be at school in the first place. The use of a close-up showing the tracker on her ankle also portrays this idea as it shows not only does she think she is above her teacher and education, but she also thinks she is above the law. Perhaps what LaGravenese is trying to portray is that in society we are often judged by what we wear and how we act. As a result, we see Eva as the stereotypical bad girl. However, what we have done in the past should not be a burden, but rather a learning experience. The learnings Eva has made from her past is inspirational as it shows no matter how long you have been acting in a certain way, you can turn your life around a become the person you want to be.
Eva is a role model because of her inspirational actions. She was taught her whole life to protect her gang at all costs, to lie for them, to take the blame for them or to stick by their side no matter what. However, when faced with the decision to send her gang member to prison for a crime he committed or to send an innocent bystander to prison, she overcomes the societal pressures to do what is best for the bystander, Grant Rice and his family, the victim’s girlfriend Sindy and the safety of the community. She turns in Paco who is in her gang. This is shown using dialogue and repeated close-ups. The director shows repeated close-ups of Eva on the witness stand. At first, they show she is confident while she is stating facts about the crime she has a strong face and she is also speaking fluidly and without pauses. However, as Grant Rice’s lawyer starts to dig deeper about the crime, she becomes more anxious and is not sure what to do. This is shown through her facial expressions, her eyebrows raise showing she is trying to come to the right decision and her speech becomes more faltered she starts to take more pauses and repeat herself before eventually saying, ‘I saw…I saw…Paco did it. Paco killed the guy.’ Despite the pressure from her gang and her father, Eva has gone against what they say and done the right thing. Although it would have been much easier for Eva to lie, she did not. Proving the idea that it is better to do what is right rather than what is easy. It may seem like the right idea in the moment, to make the easy decision however, there will always be consequences for your actions. Although Eva received consequences and got beat up by telling the truth, those were only short term consequences, in the long term she made sure that Grant Rice got to live a normal life and the community was safer. This shows the development of Eva and her embracement of change because at the beginning of the film she would never have thought twice about turning Grant Rice in. This makes her a good role model because she utilises the experiences she’s had and those around her to make herself a better person.
The person that Eva has become is a role model to teenagers because she faced adversity in her life and used it to help her change. Through the impact of Ms Gruwell, Eva became a kind, encouraging and accepting individual. This is shown through the use of contrast and a mid-shot. The director cleverly uses a mid-shot to encompass the change within Eva. Within the mid-shot, the use of costuming evidently shows the contrast and change with Eva from the beginning of the film. She is now wearing bright blue and pink clothes demonstrating the change into a kind optimistic person. The use of mis-en-scene further displays this as there are plants in the background symbolising new life. This contrast of colour and a welcoming environment portrays the change within Eva. She has become somebody all teenagers can look up to because she faced the social barriers but in place. She did not let her gang define her she became her own person. However, what is most inspirational is she became a person she could be happy with. She became a person she would forever be proud of. In society it is great to make achievements such as getting academic or sports awards however, what will really make you happy isn’t being told you are good at something by other people, it is realising within yourself that the actions you make are causing you to have positive impacts on yourself and others.
Eva is a role model because she made a change in her life which positively impacted herself and others. She realised that the way she was living was not going to lead to a long happy life for herself and others. Perhaps, LaGravenese is trying to tell the viewer that we all have flaws and that is alright. He thinks that in order for us to be successful we have to have lots of flaws but instead of putting ourselves down for them, we need to use them to become better people. Our flaws tell us how we can improve, they are all learning experiences and it is once we realise this that we can become similar to those we aspire to be like. This is because those who are successful don’t focus on putting themselves down by what they have done, but instead, on building themselves up by the actions they can take.