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“Freedom writers” is a Christian movie that presents strong moral teachings to young people. The movie portrays a strong and civilized view of the world; it encourages development and use of positive moral values by people in making the world a better place. The main values encouraged in the movie include doing right, being kind, polite, respecting other people, seeking the truth and applying it in life. Precisely, its main theme is centered on promoting good moral values.
Brief synopsis of the plot
The movie focuses on a young teacher (Hillary Swank) who teaches in a high school made up of students from different racial backgrounds (IMDb 2012). She promotes cohesion and peaceful existence among students by teaching them about the genocide against the Jews that took place during World War II (IMDb 2012).
She successfully transforms the rogue students into good people by instilling good moral values in them. In addition, she encourages them to do the right thing all the time, be kind to others and use the moral values learnt in class to improve their lives.
Synopsis of the moral issue
Doing right all the time is the main moral issue highlighted in the movie. Doing the right thing presupposes being polite, kind, respectful, seeking the truth and using it to transform lives. The students, who come from different racial backgrounds, form ethnic gangs that they use to perpetuate violence, racism and hatred among themselves.
The students carry their street gang activities and racism sentiments into class, giving the teacher a rough time in dealing with them. However, she teaches them of the importance of doing the right thing always. Gradually, the students change and become better people with positive and strong moral values.
According to the natural law theory, good moral behavior is part of human nature which is realized by observing the nature of humanity (Finnis 53).
The students were able to critically evaluate the evils of racism and violence in the society, and thus change. Learning about the Jews holocaust, they realize the dangers of racism and violence motivating them to change their morals. According to Kantianism, an act is more important than the outcome, thus everyone should be more concerned with the moral value of actions (Ward 47).
Doing right is more important than the outcome of doing right. It is expected that practicing good moral values generates positive outcomes. Therefore, it is more important to be kind, polite and respectful because by exercising these moral values, good outcomes are guaranteed. Utilitarianism teaches that the outcome of an action determines its moral value as evident from the students changed behavior.
The social contract theory holds that individuals willingly give up a portion of their freedom in exchange for protection of their rights (Rousseau and Cole 72). The students in the movie give up a portion of their freedom that allows them to perpetuate violence, racism and other evil deeds.
The best theory to operate under the given moral issue in the movie would be the natural law theory. The students would learn best by observing the actions and the consequences of humanity in the society they live. For example, by learning the consequences of racism and gang violence, the students would be highly motivated to change their behavior for their good and the good of the society.
If presented with the same moral issue, most students would fight back and thus perpetuate violence and racism. According to utilitarianism, the moral value of an action is determined by its outcome. Most students would argue that by fighting back, they protect themselves and discourage other students from bullying them into silence and submission.
The movie ‘freedom writers’ encourages people to develop and use positive values to make the world a better place. The main values encouraged in the movie include doing right, being kind, polite, respecting other people, seeking truth and applying it in life. Precisely, its theme is centered on promoting good moral values. It can be viewed from different philosophical perspectives based on the moral issue presented in the movie.
Finnis, John. Natural Law and Natural Rights. London: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.
IMDb: Freedom Writers. n.d. Web. <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0463998/plotsummary>.
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Rousseau, Jean and Cole, G. The Social Contract. New York: Cosimo Inc, 2008. Print.
Ward, Ian. Kantianism, Postmodernism, and Critical Legal Thought. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997. Print.