Finding Forrester Prompt #1

At the end of Finding Forrester, when Forrester steps forward to defend Jamal, he reads the following speech (which Jamal actually wrote):  “Losing family obliges us to find our family, not always the family that is our blood, but the family that can become our blood.  And should we have the wisdom to open our door to this new family, we will find that the wishes we once had for the father who once guided us and the brother who once inspired us to those wishes…” (music fades out words here).

How do the characters in Finding Forrester exhibit the words in Jamal’s speech?

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4 responses to “Finding Forrester Prompt #1

  1. Inside each and every one of us, there is the desire of unconditional love, the desire for acceptance. For most of us, this desire can be fulfilled through the comfort and security of our family, however, when family in the sense of relations cannot satisfy this need, one’s “family” must be expanded. In the case of Finding Forrester, the character looking for family is Forrester. He has been alone for so long, and forgotten the security and comfort of the love of others. He has lost all blood relations to himself through either death or dissociation. When the story begins he is painfully alone.
    This is the reason that compelled him to observe the camaraderie of the boys on the basketball court and, eventually, to embrace Jamal. Embracing Jamal is how Forrester finally finds his family. He develops a relationship with Jamal that is solely based on compatibility, and nothing more. The brotherly love that blooms between these two characters and eventually leads Forrester to risk everything for Jamal shows how family is not simply who is related to you, or who you care about. It is who places you above themselves, who comforts and protects you, and who you would gladly do the same for in return. Jamal is ready to condemn himself for pladgerism to save Forrester’s anonymity and in return Forrester sacrifices his anonymity to save Jamal’s reputation. These actions show how not everyone related to you is your family, but your family could be anyone who cares for you.

    -Olivia Fuson

  2. Firstly, there is the case of Jamal Wallace. At the beginning of the story, he associates singly with his “friends” with whom he plays basketball. These friends are similar to him by virtue of physical traits and lifestyle : not necessarily by friendship or compatibility. This all changes when Jamal is invited to the private school. The vicissitudes of life as a student in a prestigious private school drives Jamal away from his “friends”, much the same as death would separate family members. This forces Jamal to look for other friends, friends who do not necessarily share a lifestyle, but are compatible;Jamal’s going to the private school removes the veil of stereotype, and allows Jamal to mingle with people who are not truly his peers, but to whom he enjoys being around. Jamal meets the girl (whose name I’ve completely forgotten), as well as that boy (Coolidge, I think his name was), and of course Forrester.

    There are a number of differences between these friends, and the “friends” he had previously. Much like family, Jamal didn’t choose his “friends” (from the old school), but rather grew up with them, and, much like family, grew accustomed to them. His new friends, however, he did choose, and soon, they become an inseparable part of him, more so than his previous friends could have ever been.

    In life, we must sometime depart from that which is familiar, in order to find true happiness. This, leaving behind of old friends in order to find new ones is also done by William Forrester, albeit in a more abstract fashion. All the time he was living a reclusive life, he was actually clinging on to the remnants of his past. He was, succinctly put, living in the past. The past was, in a sense, his family: that which he has grown accustomed to, by little more than routine. In the end, when he finally steps out of his house to see the modern world, he is severing his ties to the past, and instead building bonds with the present, much as Jamal Wallace had to severe his ties with his friend group and find new friends in the private school.

    -Dan Tudorica (A2)

  3. One More Response to Finding Forrester’s #1 Prompt, By Edward Kang

    As Forrester reads Jamal’s speech in front of crowds of people during the writing contest, Forrester represents every single part of the speech he reads. Being in a room with a great mass of people makes him slightly frightened and nervous, as it is heard from his quavering voice. Yet, it is very possible to see that Forrester tries to repay a debt to Jamal when he (Forrester) realizes what Jamal had to go through in order to keep a promise made to him. Realizing this, Forrester wishes to save Jamal in the sense of reading his paper. By doing so, Forrester “opens [the] door to this new family.” By doing this, Forrester creates “the family that can become [his] blood… [which is] not always the family that is [his] blood.” Reading Jamal’s paper, Forrester gains Jamal as a friend/ “new family member.” Through experiences between Jamal and himself, Forrester has been able to gain “the wisdom” of remembering why he needs friends and family, whether they may be of his blood or not. Both characters, Forrester and Jamal have lost family, Forrester with his whole family and Jamal with his father, and so they both seek someone to call their own. Although they do not fully realize, the fact that they both gain each other’s respect and care throughout the movie represents how Forrester, as a father figure to Jamal, guides Jamal throughout his writing and through his troubles in order to make the decision of not saying anything about William Forrester. It is because Jamal keeps his promise that Forrester begins to view Jamal as a trustworthy brother. This realization is the reason Forrester becomes inspired to get out of his home finally and repay Jamal for helping him realize that there is more to the world than what lies in his apartment.
    –Edward Kang

  4. petersukamto

    In Finding Forrester the two dynamic characters who find family who are not of blood are Jamal and Forrester. Through Forresters wisdom when it comes to writing, and Jamals willingness to listen and learn, the two form a symbiotic relation where they both learn about life from different perspectives. As Forrester mentored Jamal, Forrester slowly gave Jamal insight into his secretive life. This would be the “opening of the door.” In Forresters case his door opening moment was at the baseball stadium, where he reflected about his life. As a newly formed family, Forrester and Jamal inspired and pushed each other to acheive their goals that they previously postponed. For Forrester that was to write his second and final novel, and for Jamal it was to continue through highschool and continue to write. Like all familys, Jamal and Forrester had some rough times, but in the end they helped each other to become better people then they used to be.

    -Peter Sukamto

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