The main character in the movie is a sixteen-year-old boy named Jamal who is from the Bronx in New York. He is a very intelligent young man and a gifted writer. The fact that he goes to a poor school with students who are mostly unsuccessful affects the showmanship of his intelligence. He feels that if he shows how smart he is than he will be made fun of. After taking a test his superb scores gave him the opportunity to get a full ride scholarship to a prestigious prep school called Mailor-Callow where he can continue to play basketball.
Throughout his journey he has many literacy sponsors. Some of his main sponsors are his family, his friends, William Forrester, and his English teacher Mr. Crawford. Jamal lives with his mother in an apartment in the Bronx. His mother believes that he is very intelligent and wants him to succeed in school. She knows that his main focus is playing basketball, but she is also aware of his writings that he does. Ever since his father recently left him and his mother, he began writing. He would write in journals every day and he kept them all in his backpack.
The only person that knew of these journals was his mother, but even she didn’t know what was written in them. She knew that he was a gifted writer but even his high test scores shocked her. His mom and his brother both wanted him to go to Mailor-Callow because they wanted Jamal to do better things with his life than they had. His family is one of his literacy sponsors because they push him to succeed in school. His father could be considered as his most important literacy sponsor because it wasn’t until he left them that Jamal started writing.
Either way, all three of his family members helped him in becoming the writer that he is now. Close friends can have just as much influence on someone as their family can. For Jamal this is also the case. His friends were negative literacy sponsors for Jamal. All they cared about was playing basketball. They didn’t care if they got good grades or did well in school because they didn’t think that they would have a future anyways. Jamal kept his writings from his friends because he knew that they would all judge him.
At the school he went to it would have been considered “uncool” and uncommon to be smart and actually enjoy intellectual activities. One day while Jamal is playing basketball outside of his school in the Bronx he and his friends notice “the window man”. He lives in a tall building by the court and never comes out of his house, he just watches the boys as they play basketball. Jamal gets dared to break into his house one night. When he is inside of Forrester’s apartment he gets caught. While he is dashing out of the house he drops his backpack that contains all of his writings ever since his father had left them.
A few days go by and as Jamal is walking past “the window man”, who later is found out to be William Forrester, a Pulitzer Award winning author, throws his backpack from the window. When Jamal gets home he opens his bag to find that all of his journal writings were edited and revised by Forrester. That is what begins their relationship as him being one of Jamal’s literacy sponsors. Jamal goes back to his house and leaves more writing for Forrester to revise. Forrester will not let Jamal come inside his house. He keeps everything very secretive about himself and does not want any visitors.
As time goes on Forrester finally allows him to come inside. Forrester says that he will continue to help him with his writing as long as he follows some rules, Jamal is not allowed to ask personal questions, he is not allowed to take any of the writing that they do together out of the apartment, and he is not allowed to tell anyone that they have any sort of relationship. From working with Forrester Jamal learns to write from the heart. He is told not to think about writing, just to sit down and let the words flow.
When Jamal gets stuck and cannot think of what to write, Forrester gives him something that he wrote once and told him to start copying it. Once Jamal gets the rhythm of typing he can start typing his own ideas (http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=O6O7V2g7H8w&feature=related). That tip helps Jamal out immensely and he writes a fabulous paper in which he turns into his teacher Mr. Crawford, who is another one of his literacy sponsors. Mr. Crawford is Jamal’s English teacher at Mailor-Callow. Just like Jamal’s friends he is also a very negative literacy sponsor.
Mr. Crawford doesn’t want to see Jamal succeed. He thinks that Jamal is useless to the school except to play basketball and he tries to do everything he possibly can to stop Jamal in succeeding at the school. He thinks that Jamal isn’t writing his own essays because the work that he turns in is of such high quality. When Jamal turns in the paper that he writes at Forrester’s house, Crawford realizes that the title and first paragraph are copied work off of Forrester that Jamal did not cite, meaning that his essay is plagiarized.
Crawford brings this to the school board to try to take Jamal’s scholarship away from him. That is a terribly negative literacy sponsor. He goes out of his way to somehow find fault in Jamal’s work. With all of Jamal’s literacy sponsors there comes complications. His family is complicated because they have not gone through the schooling that Jamal has and they do not have the intelligence to help him prosper in his writing, so all that they can do is push him to continue to succeed. Another complication with his family is that the whole reason that Jamal started writing was because of his father’s abandonment.
It is horrible that he didn’t start writing until his father left because now his father cannot read what he wrote and help him prosper. He has a complicated relationship with his friends because they don’t understand what is going on. They never knew that he was a good writer and they think that Jamal is leaving them when he goes to Mailor-Callow. His friends don’t realize that he is doing that to better himself and that he doesn’t want to leave them behind, but that he does have a lot of new obligations since he moved to his new school.
The most complicated literacy sponsor that Jamal has is Forrester. His relationship with Forrester is complicated because for starters Forrester doesn’t want to leave his house. At first he doesn’t even want to let Jamal in, although he eventually does. So every time Jamal wants to see Forrester he has to go to his apartment, they can never meet anywhere. Another complication with Forrester is that Jamal has to promise to never tell anyone about their relationship. Forrester doesn’t want anyone knowing that Jamal and him see each other or even that Forrester still lives in that apartment.
He also doesn’t want Jamal to take any of Jamal’s essays out of his apartment. That causes a huge confliction when Jamal fails to listen and turns in an essay that is partially plagiarized because he didn’t know that Forrester published it. The essay that is plagiarized is the same essay that Crawford turns Jamal into the school board for. Crawford and Jamal have a complicated relationship because Jamal cannot always say the things he wants to say or do what he wants to do because Crawford is his superior and his teacher and Crawford does not like when students talk back or embarrass him in class.
During one of his classes Jamal sticks up for himself and he beats Crawford at his own game which gets him kicked out of class (http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=iA4Vj-Q3HX4&feature=related). Even with all of the complications that are presented with literacy sponsors it is still very important to have them in life. Without literacy sponsors people cannot prosper to their full potential. Rather the literacy sponsor has the intentions of helping that person or hurting them, they still push them to be the best that they can be.
If they are there to help them, they can start teaching them new ways to write and always staying positive about their writing. If the literacy sponsors are negative than they help the person because the writer will want to prove them wrong and succeed regardless of what they may think. All in all, literacy sponsors are a very big and necessary part of everyone’s lives. Works Cited Finding Forrester. Dir. Gus Van Sant. Per. Sean Connery, Rob Brown, and F. Murray Abraham. Colombia Pictures, 2000. Film. Brandt, Deborah. “Sponsors of Literacy”. College Composition and Communication 49. 2(1998): 165-85. Print.