Reflection Paper: Maria Full of Grace
Washington Irving said once, “There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity” which I feel describes the main character of Maria in the movie Maria Full of Grace (MFG); Maria lives in Columbia and due to her financial situation becomes a drug mule for money all the while pregnant at the age of seventeen. In the movie, Maria struggles with the rationale of staying true to herself of being good person and doing the right thing while still wanting to make money for her strains to survive day to day. Maria also fights with the notion of wanting a better life for her unborn child and how to achieve that. Her struggles are similar to many immigrant individuals and families who come to America for a better life but are faced with many issues like language, education, and learning to cope in this foreign land without any support around them. As social workers our job will not only be to help integrate immigrants into American society but see that their basic needs are met like housing, health care and employment. Also, as social workers our jobs will closely be linked on how these immigrant population is adjusting to their new life here and their emotions. The movie Maria Full of Grace showed a spectrum of problems and issues that adolescents are faced with in the country of Columbia. One being breadwinners in their families from a young age; at the age of seventeen Maria has been working at the local flower factory in order to support her family which consisted of her grandmother, mother, sister, and her nephew. Maria was forced into working in order to keep things afloat in her family because her sister wasn’t working, which caused a lot of tension between them. We also see Juan, Maria’s baby’s father working in a local garage, who is about the same age as Maria, while supporting ten people at home. I feel this puts a lot of pressure on teenagers to make sure they consistently have employment, which if they end up losing it can cause even more stress on finding decent work, earning money for their families and supporting the needs of their households. Secondly, the film always depicts the marginalized roles of women in society. In country where the women are working minimal jobs like in factories, selling food in stalls on the side of the road or being someone’s maids they are just trying to earn an income any way they can. My rational is these women don’t get decent jobs due to partly to quitting school early to start working or can’t afford to pay for further education. In the movie, Lucy’s sister was impressed when she heard Lucy (who was a mule too) became a secretary in an office; I feel those type of careers are a rare comity to woman in Columbia because they go to really educated or talented women when so few in the country get a further education. Lastly, because these essentially teenagers have to grow up and be adults so early in life they engage in behaviors that they might not know how to handle. In the movie, we see Maria and her friends drinking and engaging in sexual activity. Maria found out she was pregnant with Juan’s child whom she didn’t love or want to marry but Juan felt the need to “step up” and take care of his responsibility, which is admirable at being seventeen but a part of me wonders if they should be engaging in these sexual behavior without the right education on prevention or knowing all the information on what to do in the event of a pregnancy if they weren’t so young. Due to the nature in which Maria and other woman from Columbia are raised: normally with a mother working a minimal job with no education and has kids at a younger age, I feel this cycle is then continued in the newer generation and then repeated again because there is a lack of education and knowledge on how to break the cycle of poverty from...
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