What grade would I get for this Freedom Writers Essay and how can I improve it?

Describe a key moment that shocked or surprised you in the text. Explain how this moment was important to the text as a whole, supporting your points with visual and/or oral language features.

During the Courtroom Scene, Eva decided to send Paco to prison for the crime he committed instead of Grant Rice. This was important in Freedom Writers because it signalled a pivotal change in the film as it caused the students to overcome the racial barriers that were previously defined them. Richard LaGravenese effectively combines dialogue, non-diegetic sound and point of view shots to portray the realisation within the characters that it is better to do what is right rather than what is easy.

LeGravenese’s crafting within the film shocked the viewer when Eva turned Paco in rather than Grant Rice. The use of sound effectively conveys the idea that it is sometimes not easy to do the right thing. The director combines dialogue and non-diegetic sound to create a compelling effect on the viewer. The acoustic guitar is repeated from the opening scene, the music plays slowly as Eva begins to falter giving her evidence, however towards the end of the scene the tempo increases creating a sense of tension. The tension conveys the idea that Eva is struggling with an internal conflict. She knows what is right, however, to do the right thing she has to make sacrifices and deal with the consequences. In addition, the director combines dialogue within the scene, ‘I saw…I saw…Paco did it. Paco killed the guy.’ Both what Eva says and the way she says it is important. She is unsure about whether she should follow her conscience and tell the truth or lie and risk being ostracised by her father and her gang. As a result of this, she falters while giving her evidence emphasising the internal conflict. The development of Eva is clearly seen as earlier in the film she would have had no problem lying, however now she has changed and become more courageous. She understands that it is not always easy to do the right thing, but she has learned it is better to do what is right rather than what is easy.

Eva’s actions had a large influence on the remainder of the film. Prior to the Courtroom scene, there were evident social groups within the classroom. However, during the scene, the director uses point of view shots to emphasise that Eva understands that no matter what she does her actions will affect people. There are shots of her gang and her mother illustrating that if she follows her conscience, Paco will be sent to prison and as a result, her gang will probably beat her up and her father may never want to talk to her again. However, there are also shots of Sindy, Grant Rice and his family. If she lies, Grant Rice will be sent to prison resulting in him and his family never leading a normal life and Sindy will never get justice for her boyfriend’s murder. This clearly demonstrates the conflict and the pressure Eva feels and shows the courage required to tell the truth. The use of point of view shots in addition to dialogue and music prove that although people experience societal pressures, they should follow their conscience and do the right thing. This is because actions have consequences.

Perhaps what LaGravenese is trying to tell us is that it requires courage to do the right thing rather than what is easy, however it is in doing the right thing that we discover who we are as individuals and the people we are going to become. Eva’s actions during the Courtroom Scene resulted in the initiation of change within the classroom. It caused the students to realise that they were not as different as they imagined. They broke down their social barriers and became friends due to an individual’s actions. This was revealed in the resolution by the combination of a long shot and voice over. The long shot shows the students hugging and lifting each other up proving they are ecstatic to be together and the impact Ms Gruwell has had on the students’ actions resulting in them developing as people. The combined use of voice over also further proves this as it shows that many of the students made history within their family as a result of their teacher and classmates.

The Courtroom scene was a key moment due to Eva’s realisation and courage. Eva discovered her own values and told the truth. This proves the idea that it is better to do what is right rather than what is easy because it will have life changing impacts on the people around you. This key moment changed the film as it caused the change within Eva’s classmates that would follow. The students realised that they shouldn’t be defined by their race and they became good friends due to Eva’s actions.

Kia ora

I suggest starting off your intro with a little bit of context about your film, or with a hook. Your first line is a little unclear, because the marker has no context for what you are talking about. However it is good that you are signposting using words from the question.

Great description of the moment itself and a solid sense of purpose. To improve - I suggest you build some of your thematic beyond the text discussion a bit - for example where you talk about how it is better to do what is right than what is easy - what else could you say about this? Why might this be a relevant idea for society/humanity in general? Similarly when you dig into ideas of these social barriers - why might this be a relevant idea to people in all sorts of demographics or groups? Or are there other texts that we see this same idea play out in? especially texts about teenagers. Try to “walk it through” a little more and make those connections beyond the text.

At the moment - I would place this at a Merit - it is a very good essay that shows clear knowledge of text and also is tailored to your chosen question, and I think you could easily improve it if you take into consideration those things above :slight_smile:

Thank you, this is very helpful!