What does William Forrester learn from his time with Jamal Wallace?
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William Forester’s greatest lesson that he learns from his time with Jamal Wallace is sharing his work. From the time that his book was published to when he met Jamal, William had not let his writing out of his apartment nor share his work with anyone. By turning the piece in that got him in trouble, Jamal outed William and showed him that it was possible that he could share his writing. When he visits Jamal’s class and shares another piece with them, he exemplifies the lessons he learned from Jamal in self confidence and bravery.
Additionally, he learned to stop hiding from his past and live in the present. He learns from Jamal’s strength to move past mistakes and begin again.
The lessons that the old learn from the young may be rare and unprecedented, but just as there’s a lot we can learn from our elders, our elders can learn a lot from us. We’ve just got to let learning go both ways. If Jamal hadn’t taught William what he did, William would have continued to live his broken life, and would have died unfulfilled.
While learning to share his writing and moving on from his mistakes were both important ideas Forrester learned from Jamal, I believe there existed something more important. The greatest lesson Forrester learns from Jamal is his gift of love and friendship. Living in solitary confinement for such a long time has drawn Forrester deeply into his shell, leaving him clumsy and unwilling of any human relationship. Jamal slowly cracks open that shell, coming back to the apartment over and over again even though Forrester rejects him multiple times. When Forrester finally lets Jamal enter his home and start to learn to write, it is Jamal and not Forrester that is doing a favor. Jamal is offering Forrester a second chance at making a friend, decades after he stopped going outside. After the subsequent deaths of his parents and his brother, Forrester believed all relationships would only lead to pain and suffering, but Jamal shows him that without these relationships Forrester is living an unfulfilling and unhappy life.
From Jamal’s love also comes his deep loyalty to Forrester. Love and loyalty are intertwined; one cannot exist without the other. When Jamal was accused of plagiarizing Forrester’s work, he could have saved himself by explaining to the school board that he knew the author. However, Jamal had promised Forrester that he would keep their relationship a secret, and Jamal was so loyal to this secret and to Forrester that he kept it even in danger of losing his education at the school. Upon learning what Jamal had done, Forrester is touched and impressed to the point where he finally goes outside to help Jamal. He leaves out of love (and loyalty: they’re the same remember?) for Jamal and helps get rid of the problem. Jamal brought warmth and compassion into Forrester’s cold and empty life: that’s what the movie is all about and that’s the greatest thing Forrester learns.
William Forrester learns how to live life by meeting Jamal Wallace. Like Boo Radley from “To Kill a Mockingbird”, William Forrester lives locked away willingly. He is scared of what life has to offer him. An accomplished man, Forrester has no need to do anything more with his life. He has no dreams or aspiration. But when he meets Jamal Wallace, it all changes. Here is a young man who is an incredible writer who needs direction. William happily gives Jamal the direction he needs, and the two develop a tight bond. Jamal experiments taking William out of his dull apartment and out into the world, but it does not work like planned. Through discussion and writing, William begins to rediscover his dream of travelling back to his homeland. He even begins to write a new novel. Jamal helps William find this dream and Jamal himself found himself in a place where he was meant to be, where he can write. By the end, William passes away but not after living the end of his life the way it should have been lived long before. It is a shame how late William Forrester realized how to live for himself, and not for the sake of living and surviving.
During his time with Jamal, William Forester learns self-confidence and he re-learns how to love. William and Jamal are very similar characters: both don’t know what direction they want their lives to go and are un-confident. Upon meeting, they help one another in many ways. When William first meets Jamal, he is shy and unsure of himself. In teaching Jamal he once again realizes his skill as a writer. He seems reluctant to trust himself with his own writing, hence not letting any pieces escape his apartment. After he teaches Jamal how to become a better writer and sees how phenomenal his work is, William sees for the first time in awhile that he is a competent writer who can teach others his craft.
William also learns how to love again, and how to have a friend. All of his family had left him years ago, and he had remained isolated for years after that. In his solitude, he has forgotten how much he loves writing, and how important having people who you love in your life. Jamal has reunited William with his true passion, had both Jamal and William have gained a friend, and some may even say, based on the Jamal’s paper that William read out-loud, that they have gained a new family member. Though their initial relationship was based solely on writing, their relationship gradually grows as they begin to see the true colors of one-another. Although the premise of the story is that William taught Jamal how to write well, William learned much more valuable lessons from Jamal. Through these life-lessons, William finds direction for his life and becomes a much happier, more fulfilled man.
William Forrester is an extremely peculiar character. He has it all, the fame, the talent and the insight. He knows his book is fabulous, and he knows his mind is superior. He, of all people should have nothing to be afraid of. Yet Jamal finds this old man alone in his apartment, only leaning into the outside world to clean his windows. The man with what other people – cough cough Jamal’s English professor – would kill for, is completely lost, and alone in a world full of people that know his name and cherish his words. The strangest thing is that he seems totally fine with hiding. He hides from the world, from its joys and its pains, up in his apartment, with his two TVs and his dusty typewriter. Even though he is hiding, he is not rejecting the world. He clearly is not afraid, or angry with the world, because he continues to watch it from his window and from the televisions. He watches the birds, and he watches Jamal. He is not so much hiding, but sitting on the sidelines and observing as if his life is no longer important to the world. What Jamal teaches Forrester is not how to accept the world again, or how to conquer fears, but that it is not too late for him. Jamal teaches William that his life still matters, and that our time isn’t up until we are in the ground. With Jamal’s help, Forrester takes risks, and opens his signed off heart, which he then uses to write another book. Before Jamal, William was all wrapped up in his pajamas ready to exit quietly, but he learns that it isn’t the end. Jamal gives William the gift of good times, and the ability to make every second count. With this new outlook on life, Forrester was able to love again, and make everything right for himself, and his best friend.
The most valuable thing William Forrester learns from Jamal Wallace is to have self-confidence and to live life to the fullest. Although this may sound cliché, it was fundamental in inspiring Forrester to change his life around in order to begin living a passionate life. Through the many days that Jamal and William spend together, they form an unusual yet strong friendship that helps them reach their dreams. In the beginning of the movie, Forrester is portrayed as a shy, old man living alone in an apartment. It was evident that he lived his life in solitude and experienced the outside world only through his cherished works of literature. Forrester simply wanted people to leave him alone, as shown when he rejects Jamal even after his several attempts to come back. Forrester continued to hide from his past and the hardships he once suffered from. Losing his family caused his unwillingness to form relationships, which potentially limit his ability to live a fulfilled life. However, things change when Forrester finally accepts Jamal into his life. Jamal’s experiences and stories of overcoming adversity encourage Forrester to continue on with his life because he learns that it does him no good to dread on the past. Forrester learns to forget the past as well as to look to the future. By moving on with his life, Forrester begins to seek future opportunities and begins by fulfilling his dream of writing a new novel. Furthermore, rather than continuing to live life as a recluse, Forrester gains self-confidence and steps into the outside world for the first time in decades. The inspiring and supportive actions of Jamal allowed Forrester to come out of the comfort of his home. Forrester lives life with compassion and confidence as he learns the great values of life from Jamal’s strength and determination to overcome difficulties.
Written by Yifan Mao ^
William Forrester learns a great deal from Jamal. He learns about self-confidence, happiness, and family. The most important thing he learns from Jamal is how to show courage. William Forrester has no idea how to show courage. He eloquently writes about characters that possess enormous amounts of courage, but cannot understand it himself. Mr. Forrester believes that courage is an unnecessary aspect of life, something that one only needs when thrown into the most desperate of situations. Forrester also thinks that courage is only needed to prove to others that you have the strength to carry out what you want to. Jamal shows him that not only does courage prove to others that you are strong, it proves to yourself that you are capable of anything. As a result of this, you gain more self-confidence and then can do much more. In the beginning of the movie, William avoids anything that might involve an ounce of courage, such as leaving the house. He employs a man to do his shopping for him, has a fake name, and prohibits any of the stories he and Jamal write to leave the house. Jamal sees the potential in him, and knows all it will take is the presentation of courage to bring out the best in him. Jamal tries to get courage from Mr. Forrester by taking him to the basketball game, but William gets so overwhelmed and feels sick. Mr. Forrester only realizes the importance of courage in the end of the movie, where he defends Jamal from being accused of plagiarism. This then opens a whole new world of possibilities, and Forrester goes to Scotland with his newfound self-confidence. If only William had learned this sooner, he would not have lived a life lacking in happiness and love.
Though many will make claims that William Forrester learns to be courageous, to find confidence, or just to be happy, from Jamal, the greatest lesson taught to him by Jamal appears to me to be the ability to take risks. For instance, Forrester, before he meets Jamal, had not physically left his apartment in many years. He spent all day writing and contemplating the world, not actually living it. Then, when Jamal comes along, Forrester sees Jamal risk everything in his move to a new school, and Forrester realizes all the excitement his life lacks becaue he is not willing to go outside of his norm. Forrester first shows signs of learning from this lesson that Jamal illustrates when he goes to the basketball game in Madison Square Garden. He learns that usually, in life, it is better to take a chance and see what happens, than to sit back and have nothing happen at all. Another example of this is at the end, when Forrester comes into the school to protect Jamal from the school’s allegations. In this situation, if he does not act, Jamal must face the consequences, even though Jamal got into trouble becasue of Forrester. Finally, Forrester realizes that taking a risk and leaving his apartment to help Jamal is the best course of action. After all, Forrester could do no more damage to Jamal than he had already done. Taking risks allow for events to happen, whether detrimental or beneficial. And Forrester learns that he must live his life and take his chances, despite the possibility that something will go wrong, believing in the possibility that everything will go right.
William Forrester learns many lessons from Jamal, including how to be a friend and how to step out of his comfort zone. At the beginning of the movie, Forrester does not leave his apartment and only has a relationship with the man that brings him needed supplies. Once Jamal enters his life, Forrester starts to begin a friendship with Jamal, connected by their writing. This friendship grows stronger as the movie progresses and as they continue to work on Jamal’s writing. Finally at the end, Forrester shows Jamal how strong their friendship really is by coming to his school, defending Jamal while also exposing his true self. Coming to Jamal’s school was not the only way Forrester branched out. He also went to a basketball game with Jamal, where he gets scared and this causes him to separate himself from the outside world even more. Jamal telling Forrester about his writing problem with the school, finally prompts Forrester to show others that he is still alive and that he is helping Jamal. Forrester and Jamal’s friendship is what helps Forrester to learn many lessons.
I believe that the most important thing that William Forrester learns from Jamal Wallace, is how to be humble. His entire life, he lived in his apartment, alone, never feeling the need to publish any more work, becuase he believes that he has done a service to the world simple by writing that one book. However, upon his encounter with Jamal, he discovers that he is not the only one to possess such a talent.
Having never left his house, he had no idea of what’s it’s like to live in a world where you are discriminated against for who you are and how you were born. And so, by meeting Jamal, he discovers that being humble doesn’t mean you hide away from the world and not take any credit or offer any explanation for what you have created, but rather, you face the world and show them what you have done, and endure the consequences, either good or bad.
At the end of the story, Forrester feels he ows something to Jamal for teaching him this, and that’s what promts him to go to the school and help Jamal to show what he can do. And in return, Forrester is bombarded with attention, and only then can he be truly characterized as humble, by dealing with such attention in a positive manner.
-Sarah Wallin, A2 (Sorry it’s late)
I agree with Sarah that Mr. Forrester learns to be humble but I think too that he learns what it means to love and be loved. Ultimately to once again be a part of a family. From the beginning of the movie it is clear that Mr. Forrester has become socially inadequate do to his lack of participation in the growth of the community throughout the years. It was as if the world had revolutionized without him and, in many ways, it had. But something that remained the same throughout his prime and now Jamal’s is the appreciation had for his work. Mr. Forrester recognizes the talent that Jamal possesses as similar to his own and although at first he was unsure of the possibility of that he learned that others can have so much potential and with a little help can become marvelous.
I think that through the many years of solitude Mr. Forrester had swapped an acceptable amount of pride, for an intolerance of the lack of so of others. His time with Jamal prompted him to once again come to the conclusion that others are wonderful once given the opportunity.
-Renee Perrine, A2 (I apologize as well for this being late)
I feel that William Forrester has learned, among other things, how to live life again. Forrester looses a sense of normal life after his brother and parents die, and he writes his book. He essentially looses the will to live. Jamal injects a variety of emotions into Forrester’s life that were absent before, and Jamal exemplifies everything that Forester was missing from his life, passion, motivation, frustration, youth, happiness, sadness, etc. When Forrester is hit with all these emotions and has an anxiety attack while going to Yankee stadium, he is forced to confront the problems in his narrow minded life. Armed with the emotions, feelings, and inspiration from Jamal, Forrester rebuilds his life and regains the will to live essentially. Forrester re-learns the satisfaction that an well balanced and enriched life can create when he sees how Jamal lives his life. Because of this, Forrester moves back to Scotland for the remainder of his life. Meeting Jamal is the most important influencing factor on the last several years of Forrester’s life, and in my opinion, the most important.
-Walt O’Connor A2
Over the course of his time with Jamal, Forrester, most importantly, learned how to (admittingly) care for somebody again. Forrester had locked himself away in an emotional prison when his brother and parents died. He didn’t care for anyone after this because he knew too well the pain that was ensured after the death of a loved one. This all changes when Jamal comes along. Jamal builds a strong relationship with Forrester, as a result of their everyday lessons. Their relationship evolves out of teaching when Jamal, attempts to take Forrester out to a sporting event, and takes him to Yankee stadium. At this point it is obvious that Forrester cares for Jamal; their relationship created by a love for the English language. The turning point for Forrester is when he goes to Jamal’s school and saves Jamal from the ultimatum his teacher had presented him. This event solidifies Forrester’s love for Jamal. Forrester saw his relationship coming to a close, but he admitted to himself that he cared about Jamal, thus giving him the strength to go out in public, which is quite the feat for him, and vouch for Jamal. Along with being able to love somebody again, Forrester makes the realization tat to love one and lose them is better than to never love at all.
P.S. sorry about the late post, I was having trouble with the wi-fi in my home and couldn’t get it sorted out till my father arrived back from his business trip.
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