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Describe at least one important character in the text. Explain how this character was revealed to you throughout the text.

In the film Freedom Writers, director Richard LaGravenese reveals the important character of Eva in different ways. When Ms Gruwell first meets her class, Eva is revealed as a sassy, strong-willed and harsh student. However, as time progresses, she becomes quieter and more polite. At the conclusion of the film, she is revealed as a polite, kind and accepting student. Through her development, Eva proves that people can change for the better despite their situation.

Due to the influence of society Eva is revealed as a strong character. She has been taught to fight for her life from a young age and as a result, she has not been able to experience some of the joys of childhood such as playing with toys and the innocence associated with being a child. Since she is part of a gang, violence has been part of her life and she has accepted it. As a result, Eva has a hard barrier between herself and most of the people in her life. This is shown by using two shots, voiceover and close-ups. During the opening scene, the director carefully crafts the scene to show the gang violence in the students’ lives. The viewer sees a two-shot of Eva and Paco walking along normally before people from another gang come along and start chasing them. This results in Paco pulling out his gun and shoots. This proves to the viewer that people like Eva are never safe even in their own neighbourhood causing them to have a strong character because they wouldn’t survive without one. The use of voiceover is used carefully to show the impact of being in a gang on Eva. ‘They beat you so you won’t break.’ This shows the beatings Eva has received in order to become the tough person she is now. The use of close-ups also adds to this. The viewer sees a close-up of Eva being beaten up as a young girl and having blood across her face. This proves that in Eva’s life you have to be tough and deal with being hurt in order to survive.

The courtroom scene clearly reveals the beginning of the change in Eva. At the beginning of the film, if Eva had been the witness to the same crime, she wouldn’t have thought twice about turning Grant Rice in because she has been taught to protect her gang. However, due to the influence of Ms Gruwell on Eva, she has changed. This is shown through the use of close-ups. Eva’s facial expressions seen through the close-ups show how Eva has changed. There is an internal conflict going on as she doesn’t know whether to turn in Paco or Grant Rice. She has anxious facial expressions as she does not know what to do, her eyebrows are raised and she has a look of concentration on her face, she is desperately trying to decide what to do. LaGravenese combines this with dialogue to show the change within Eva. Due to this Eva is revealed as unconfident, but thoughtful. She wants to do what is best. She says, ‘I saw… I saw… Paco did it. Paco killed the guy.’ This use of dialogue reveals the change within Eva, she has changed from making the easy decision to making the right decision. This proves how despite the situation you are in, you can change into a better person. Although this is only the beginning of her development, Eva has shown through the right influences anybody can make a change in their lives. As humans we all make mistakes. Some of these are small and no one will remember the next day, but some can be big and alter our lives. However, Eva has shown that even if you make these big mistakes, you can turn your life around and become the person you aspire to be.

At the conclusion of the film, LaGravenese cleverly reveals Eva as a new person. This is through the use of close-ups, mis-en-scene, colour, costume and contrast. Within the close-up of Eva, the viewer can see the change in costume. Eva now wears vibrant colours instead of the dark harsh colours she wore at the beginning. This use of contrast proves the development of Eva throughout the film. She began as a rebellious, strong-willed person but has developed into an accepting, kind person. The use of mis-en-scene also adds to the strong effect. There are plants behind Eva signalling new life. Not only the change within Eva but the change within all the students as well. Within society, people say they are going to make changes within their lives, they are going to fight for climate change action or human rights or animal rights. However, the problem within society is that people say many things but much less is actually done. However, throughout the film, LaGravenese’s careful revealing of Eva proves that this is not the case in every situation. There are people like Eva who change to become better people and as a result, make the world a better place. Humanity needs to realise that they can change to become better people no matter their situation, everyone can become a better person through their actions.

LaGravenese’s careful crafting of the film and his use of voiceover, two-shots, close-ups, dialogue, colour, contrast and costumes reveal Eva in different ways showing the development of her character. She is revealed as a harsh and strong-willed character however, she changes and as a result becomes revealed as a kind accepting student. This proves that you can make changes in your life and become a better person no matter what you have done. There is always room for improvement, you just need to use your flaws as motivation to become a better person.

Kiā ora
You set up the two sides of the question clearly in the introduction and hint at the purpose with the insightful comment about how people can change. Perhaps this could be extended a little more…We are influenced by others we respect… we begin to see the truth of situations… and so on.
You know the film well and give well chosen evidence with techniques. Try and develop the notion of the purpose… what is that the Director wants us to understand from the evidence? It is this that will generate more perceptive comments . … The scenes of gang life and the negative experiences demonstrate the ways the human spirit can be damaged and the way anger and hardened emotions are used to shield… that sort of thing.
The comments on the ‘change’ in her character is sound as is the explanation of the end result.
For perfection just a little more perception in the conclusion.
This is a very solid essay. Well done.
:grinning:

Thanks for the help, the feedback is very helpful!