Precepts to use in everyday life

1. Think for yourself, 2. Be yourself, 3. Speak up, 4. Feel free to agree and disagree, 5. Be honest with yourself and others, 6. Be open-minded, 7. Avoid being judgmental and 8. Question everything - even your own thinking.

TOK Essay Titles Nov 2019

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Arts

Here's a response (albeit unwittingly) to the previous entry about Stephen Law's question: 'So What have you learned from literature?'

Remember, we adapted the question to cover all forms of fiction: T.V. drama, film, theatre, dance, music and so on.

While preparing for his formal GCSE assessment, one of our students gave the following speech which is unrelated to the discussion about The Arts. The stimulus for the presentation was simply the title, 'My Inspiration'. This is the transcript of his speech as kindly forwarded by the student.

Click onto the picture to view the scene he showed before you read his speech.
"The Pursuit of Happyness"

"For some of you who haven't watched that film, it's called the Pursuit of Happyness and that was the ending scene. It's a true story that follows a man called Chris Gardner, who is not doing so well for himself. His wife leaves him and he is left looking after his 5 year old son and trying to make a living off a failing business. He is invited into an internship at a stockbroker, but it has no salary so he is left doing that, his normal job and taking care of his son. he becomes the lowest of the low and has to sleep in a subway tunnel one night, but as you saw he is offered the job and his situation turns around.

I came across this film when I was reading through the sun on holiday. I read the description and thought to myself, 'I'll have to go and watch that.' I didn't. It was only when I went to spend all my Christmas money with my dad that I saw it in HMV and picked it up. I took it home and watched it that night, and the story caught me in the first ten minutes. I watched it again the next day and it caught me even more. The way a man could turn around his situation like he did was outstanding.

Well what have I learnt? It's only a film, what can it tell us? It tells us that when a situation becomes as worse as it can possibly be, we can always turn it around. It tells us that if we keep our family and loved ones close, that we can always pull through. It tells us that any individual can make a difference in the world. And it does it all in just under 2 hours. So when the teachers say that staring at a screen does nothing for you, they're wrong and in a big way.

How can this help you? Watch it and find out. Remember that it was a true story, this man actually exists. He did get evicted out of his apartment and a motel and he did sleep in a subway toilet for a night. But he got a job with a stockbroker firm, founded his own firm and then went on to sell it to become a multi-millionaire. If you ever think your problems are piling up and you don't know what to do. just watch this film. Get some inspiration.

I wouldn't actually call this an inspiration; I would call it a reminder. It reminds me that however down I may feel; however hard a situation may become, with the help and support of the people you love, your family and friends, you can always overcome any obstacle put in front of you, just like Chris Gardner did. And if that isn't a form of inspiration, I don't know what is."

So, is our student simply a young, naive innocent who doesn't get that he's being manipulated into believing in that strange phenomenon, 'The great American Dream'? Is life really reducible to the simple formula: Hope + Hard Work = Fame, Fortune and Glory?

Or are our student's comments, when stripped of his rhetorical flair for speechmaking, a sincere statement of the lessons of life he has learned after watching the movie?

1 comment:

Mustafa Farhan said...

i've seen this movie. and yes, its inspiring.