November 28, 2011
Jamal’s Literacy Sponsors
Everyone has a person, or persons, who influence their writing in some way. Deborah Brandt, professor in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote an article defining the sponsors of literacy. She states a literacy sponsor as, “people, institutions, and circumstances that both make it possible for a person to become literate and shape the way the person actually acquires literacy”(Brandt 331). The movie Finding Forrester greatly expresses the way in which literacy sponsors can shape someone’s life. 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...