1. What are three status symbols found in the movie?
- Erin’s pearls symbolize the wealth of her father, being as they were a gift from him. - Erin’s wedding ring symbolizes that she is married.
- The tattoos on the Holocaust survivor’s arms symbolize their status as Jew.
2. Which character(s) experienced role conflict? Give an example
- Although Eva and Erin both experienced role conflict, I feel that Erin had more of an obvious conflict. She was a teacher, wife, daughter, and an employee. She felt her responsibility was being a teacher for the kids, however that left strain on her marriage. As a daughter, she struggled to please her father, and as an employee, she faced the criticism of other staff members.
3. Identify a character that experienced emotional labor?
- The one character that stood out the most to me that experienced emotional labor was obviously Erin. Teachers deal directly with the public, therefore she was required to display certain carefully selected emotion. Being as this was her first year as a teacher, she had to pretend that everything was perfectly fine in the classroom. She had to go to work, smile, and not be afraid of the scary circumstances she faced on a daily basis. Although she may have been scared, she could not show her fear to the students and/or other staff members.
4. What character experienced role exit? Give an example.
- Andre. He was asked by a friend to “help him out” but Andre declined in order to go to the Holocaust museum with the class.
5. List three stereotypes found in the movie.
“I hate white people; they all demand respect, respect that wasn’t earned” “Ghetto”, “Little Cambodia”, “Wonderbread Land”, “South of the Border” “Jews have big noses” and “Blacks have big fat lips”
6. What are some of the self-fulfilling prophecy seen at throughout the movie? Can a self-fulfilling prophecy be good and bad? Give an example.
- Erin demonstrated a self-fulfilling prophecy when she set out to become a teacher, specifically of Woodrow Wilson High School. She believed these kids had the potential to be successful students, as well as productive members of society. Despite the negativity forced upon her by other staff members, Erin’s prophecy came true when those adolescents finally looked past each others differences to become friends, and dramatically improved their test scores, of which was deemed impossible by other teachers.
- Yes, I believe self-fulfilling prophecies could be good or bad. It would be good because if one is given constant positive reinforcement, that person is more likely to become successful. In contrast, It could be bad because of the negativity inflicted by those individuals who do not feel the same importance of being a positive role model to those who need it.
7. What are some examples of face-saving behavior? Why do such behavior/actions tend to make us feel better about ourselves?
One example of face-saving behavior would be when Margaret (the department head), and Principal Banning chose not to give these particular students new books or material. They felt that these students weren’t at school to learn, therefore they did not “deserve” new material I think that such behavior makes us feel better about ourselves because we can supposedly “justify” our decisions to “cover our butts”. Meaning, those schools are there to teach students. Since they chose not to give the students new material, they “justified” their decision based on the students’ previous and current behavior. Although the decision may or may not have been the right one, it was justified in their minds, which tends to happen a lot in our individual lives today as well.
8. How do the students see themselves in the scheme of society?
- These students feel like they are constantly at war. They believe that they at war with themselves, each other, and the rest of the world. In the beginning of the movie, given their actions, they feel “worthless” and “disrespected”. But after receiving new books and learning that someone (Mrs. Gruwell), was there to empathize with them, the attitudes started changing. The students began to understand that just because you came from a particular place and or situation, doesn’t mean that is where they had to stay. Each individual began to see past others’ race, ethnicity, and social status in order to become friends.
9. What master status do you hold? Which character in the movie do you relate most to and why?
I don’t personally feel like I hold a master status. Yes, I am an employee, student, wife, daughter, sister, an aunt, and a friend but I could not classify myself into one particular category. All of my statuses are equally important in my life. I believe I give 110% to everything I do, in all the aspects of my life. I believe that I could relate the Erin Gruwell the most. I believe that I give people the benefit of the doubt, am always an optimistic person, and want the best for people regardless of their current or past situations. Just because a person comes from one particular way of life, doesn’t mean they have to remain that way forever.
10. How do race/ethnicity, gender, and class affect the meanings we give to our interactions with others?
- I believe that race/ethnicity, gender, and class affect the meanings of our interactions with others just by being ourselves sometimes. The way one is raised and brought up could play a huge role in how one treats another. If one’s parents are racist, that child is more likely to become racist as well. For example, If my father instilled in my mind that Mexicans were worthless, lazy, and only came to America for free health care, tax free living, and food stamps, I am more likely to have a negative image of the Hispanic race, therefore treating someone of that particular race, as less of a person. Not that my perception is correct, but because I have that image in my mind, the meaning of my interaction with with them would be significantly different, rather than if my judgment had not been clouded by my father. (Please know that I am ONLY using this as an example, I am in no way, shape, or form a racist person).