How Do You Love When Your

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How do you love when your heart’s filled with fear? How do you forgive when it’s so hard to forget? The story of African-American Antwone Quenton Fisher “Fish”(played by Derek Luke) leads people to ask these kinds of questions. An important person in his life being his psychiatrist Dr. Jerome Davenport (played by Denzel Washington) from the navy helped Antwone with his issues and anger by being there for him to talk to and release all of his stress and pain that he has held inside throughout his life. Through the abuse, abandonment, and struggle still Antwone becomes a strong successful man. Despite minor changes, the movie Antwone Fisher is a realistic portrayal of the young mans life; the director changes details about Fisher’s life because the movie stresses Fisher’s relationship with his psychiatrist and is explained through flashbacks of his life, while the book is based on Antwone Fisher’s entire life and has many more characters and important people that were in his life.  

            Antwone Fisher was born in prison in Cleveland, Ohio to Eva Mae Fisher, which was only seventeen years old. Antwone never got a chance to meet his father who was shot and killed by a former girlfriend two months before he was born. Within a few weeks after Antwone’s birth, he was assigned to an African American foster mother by the name of Mrs. Tate (played by Novella Nelson) who mentally, physically, and sexually abused him for fourteen years until he had enough and got into a fight with Mrs. Tate and left. Mrs. Tate also had two other foster children, Dwight and Keith who Antwone became close friends with.

At the age of 17, Fisher was expelled from his foster home. Fisher was then placed in a reform school in Pennsylvania. Since he would turn eighteen before the end of his senior year he passed all of his required courses and got to graduate a year early. After graduating Fisher’s plans were to save up enough money to go to art school but he ended up working for a drug dealer and a pimp. Fisher didn’t like what was going on, he never wanted to be in that type of situation but he needed the money. Soon after he found out that the pimp had children involved, Fisher ran away and had no where to stay, asking anyone for spare change. Fisher was ready for a change in his life at this point; he joined the navy for eleven years.  

            In the movie, Fisher gets into a fight with a sailor on a ship in Pearl Harbor who says something about the color of his face, which leads to him being restricted to the base and required to take three sessions with a naval psychiatrist. Antwone Fisher begins his story and the beginning of a new start but he does not even realize it yet.

Antwone does not want to communicate with Dr. Davenport because he feels as if he is not “crazy” and has no problems at all. “You may be able to make me come here but you can't make me talk” (Wolz, Birgit. "Antwone Fisher.”) Dr. Davenport explains to Antwone that his sessions do not begin until he begins to talk. Towards the fifth session, Antwone begins to talk by saying, “what do you want me to say?” from there on, he begins his session. Dr. Davenport starts by asking him where he is from and who his parents are. This is where he begins to tell his life story.  

            Antwone eventually breaks down and tells Dr. Davenport about his horrific childhood with neglect and abuse. "In the beginning when I talked about my life, I couldn't sit in the chair facing him. I sat on the floor in front of his desk. He couldn't see me. ... Eventually I could talk to him face to face. He was the first person I ever told my story to. "("Gale Contemporary Black Biography: Antwone Quenton Fisher.") Antwone was mentally abused by always having to be called “nigger”. In the movie when Antwone is having a session with his psychiatrist he makes the statement, “She hardly used our names, she said the word nigger so often…called us niggers so often that we could tell who she...
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