“Just walk on by,” an essay by Brent staples informs of the people’s reaction toward a young black man. The story begins with a description of a woman’s negative reaction towards the black man who has arrived in Chicago to study at the University of Chicago. The essay shows that perception can alter ones public space in unpleasant ways. Finding forester is a script written about a black teenage student who has found placement at the Mailor prep school because of his skill in playing basketball. This essay will analyze instances of negative perception in the plot; how such perception altered Jamal’s experience; how Jamal dealt with the negative perception.


Jamal first appears as a nervous kid often seen bouncing his basketball in almost all situations of his life, whether public or private. He is conscious of people’s perception towards him as a black man. Jamal maintains a positive self-image, one that is developed in his upbringing. Jamal faces several instances of negative perception that is intended to interfere with his public space. His interaction with Massie for example, was intended to put him down on grounds that he was black. He defends his intelligence, as he is aware that he deserved a great level of respect as other members of the society. Throughout the story people in the film present, him as a strong willed kid who is able to intelligently deal with the negative perception (Rich and Brown 2000).

Crawford for instance had a negative attitude towards Jamal. Jamal disliked Crawford as much as Crawford disliked Jamal. Jamal chose to use his emotional intelligence to manage all of these situations, as he understood that he had no means of changing the negative perception towards him. Jamal had to exercise self-control every time he was in Crawford’s presence. Jamal had experienced racial acts while growing up as a black in Harlem. The scene with Massie is another example of negative perception. Massie, the deliveryman is seen as entering a BMW. His immediate reaction, when Jamal walks over to him, is that he might have been a bugler and a punk who had grown up in Harlem. Jamal is subjected to the negative perception simply because of his setting and his looks

 These prejudices had influenced who he had become and had informed him of how he had been perceived by others. When Jamal is questioned for having plagiarized his essay, he makes a decision to make his feeling known to his teacher. The fact that he was forced to display his feelings publicly make him appear deficient in his ability to manage relationships. The class confrontation displayed his pride and confidence while at the same time it presented him as an angry individual. By questioning the teacher’s intelligence, it had nearly led to his expulsion from the institution. Jamal’s feelings had been built over time. Jamal values knowledge and desires respect, which has proved hard to get from his teacher Crawford. His situation has been compounded by the fact he is in a white dominated private school. His uniqueness in the school makes it easier for him to be negatively regarded as a cheater. Crawford chooses to ignore previous success and high grades made by Jamal. He focuses his attention, not on Jamal’s potential but on the single mistake that he had made while writing the contest paper.


The negative perception makes Jamal miss on the opportunity of showing his honesty, hard work, loyalty and his writing skill. Jamal responds intelligently by outsmarting Massie and describing everything he knew about cars and in particular, BMWs. This kind of negative perception made Jamal’s experiences difficult, as he had constantly affirmed himself as having more to offer than the color of his skin.

Essay 2

How writing liberates both Jamal and Forrester

The student, known as Jamal, aspires to be a writer and when he breaks into Forrester’s apartment, his dream is reignited when forester, mentors him to realize his dream. A strong bond is developed between the two rather unique individuals. Forrester is an old cancer patient who has lost faith in the world. He is initially presented as a lonely man who experiences anxiety attacks when he makes public appearances thus his solitude. Jamal is an intelligent young teenager who has been admitted at the prep school because of his field skills and not for his intelligence. The two men defy the assumptions they originally had towards each other relating to race, history, age and abilities. This essay explains how the two characters are trapped in isolation in the case of Forrester and his intellectual capabilities for Jamal; shows; how they meet and explore their writing talents; how writing has helped liberate both individuals.


In the beginning of the film both Jamal and Forester, appear trapped. Forrester is trapped in his apartment, a dust full apartment with the only sound emanating, being that of a typewriter. Forrester has given up on his life and in his ability to write. He has chosen to let cancer take over his life and has chosen to stay in the confines of his house. He is seen looking over at the basketball pitch in which Jamal and his friends play. Before Jamal’s first encounter with him, he is referred to as “the window” as his face remained invisible even when he had been watching the boys.

When Jamal accepts a challenge by his friends to sneak into the old man’s apartment, he leaves his backpack. This scene shows Forrester’s entrapment in the apartment. Forrester discovers Jamal’s writing ability when he gets to read his writing from the bag. Jamal is a black student whose brilliance and skill in basketball gains the attention of various prestigious schools. He is given a full scholarship at Mailor callow, which is a high/middle class school. Jamal’s writing skills academic potential remain trapped behind his basketball skill. This is one of the main reasons why he got admission in the school, a factor that is exemplified when he is accused of plagiarism. The school's board issued him with an ultimatum that his readmission into the institution was on condition that he gave the school a win at the basketball championship. He deliberately missed the two shots that would have guaranteed the school a win.

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After Jamal gets his backpack, he discovers that his journal had been read. Forrester had been the first to read his work and had even made editorial notes. It is at this point Jamal found an opportunity to improve his writing skills. It is the bond that was developed that also reignited Forrester’s love for writing. Jamal helped Forrester break from his solitude and despair. This saw Forrester visit the Yankee stadium, which was host to a baseball game. Jamal is given an article, which he is asked to rewrite, and when he presents his essay at the contest, he is accused of plagiarism. Forrester comes to his defense when he reads out one of Jamal’s essay at the contest. It is after Forrester affirms that the previous article had been cited with his permission that the board overrules the plagiarism charges. Forrester rediscovers himself and gains a strong will to live and to return to Scotland. Jamal on the other hand prospers in his academics, thus, giving him many invitations from prestigious universities. Writing was Jamal’s corridor to the success that he had gained regardless of the fact that he was black. He had managed to overcome the stereotype that was associated with the color of his skin thus emerging a successful scholar. It also liberated him from the notion that he was only significant at playing basketball.


Jamal and Forrester have achieved unexpected success. Forrester’s affirmation that Jamal’s essay had been original has led him to be accepted back into the institution. He is able to exploit his full academic potential. This has seen him receive numerous invitations to prestigious universities where he has the opportunity to pursue a lifelong career. The fact that he is a black kid in a white community yet he has excelled in his academics is unexpected success. By publishing Forrester’s novel as his own introduces him into the writing profession as an already established writer.

Essay 3

The unexpected success of Jamal or Forrester

Jamal is first presented as a mere basket player whose admission in the preparatory school is purely of the merit of his basketball talent. Influenced by his peers, he is forced to hide his academic potential and his writing skills. He writes on his private journal and has failed to receive any audience for his work. When Jamal sneaks into the old man’s house, he gains accidental audience to his literature. The editorial notes that had been made to his notes marked the beginning of Jamal’s writing classes. Forrester had patiently mentored Jamal. On the other hand Forrester who had been an established writer, who had given up on his writing, had found a new reason to live life fully and to face his audience, something that he had never done. This essay explains the state in which the two characters had been before they had crossed paths; Jamal’s unexpected success; and Forrester’s unexpected success.


Both Forrester and Jamal have gained some level of success but have opted to hide this within their own prejudices. Jamal had gained an accidental relationship with Forrester. Forrester had patiently mentored Jamal on how to become an accomplished writer. Jamal’s first encounter with Forrester, was when he had been asked to write an article explaining why he was supposed to keep away from his apartment in 5000 words. This he had completed and hence gained Forrester’s audience. Forrester, who at a near end of his writing career, patiently mentors Jamal to explore different stimuli in his writing. Jamal is at his infant stage as a writer. Jamal is a gifted student but has decided to hide this in an attempt to fit in his peer group. He is also talented athletics.

The school has organized a writing championship where he presents an essay. The essay uses some of Forrester’s published works. His teacher, Crawford leveled charges of plagiarism against him. He faces expulsion from the institution. His restoration as a student in the school is pegged on the condition that he helped the team secure a win in the games. He defiantly makes the team loose. While attending the essay championship as part of the audience, Forrester presents an essay. The essay elicits praise from even Crawford, Jamal’s teacher. He then revealed that the essay had been written by Jamal and that the article for which he had been charged with plagiarism had been used with his permission. This scene helps Jamal get accidental recognition as a writer. He excels academically thus finding placement in prestigious universities. Forrester can also be seen to have gained some degree of success. He has been seen as a writer who had been scared of interacting with his readers. At the contest, he had made an appearance and even addressed a crowd. The courage to make such an appearance must have been an unexpected success as he had spent most of his life indoors.

Most of Forrester’s work had remained unpublished. On his death, he had left a will that had endorsed a novel to Jamal. He had been expected to write a preface for the novel, upon which he would publish the book as own. This book gave Jamal an opportunity to join the market as a writer with work that was of great quality. This is seen as an unexpected success since he had managed to present to the market a novel done by the renowned writer William Forrester. He did succeed to overcome the racial prejudice he had been subjected to by the whites.


“Finding Forrester” is a film that is centered on two characters with similar interest. Both were writers and had an avid interest in athletics. The unlikely relationship that ensues enables the two discover their abilities as writers. Jamal gains from the mentorship as Forrester rediscovers his love for written word. A film also shows the negative influence that racial discrimination can have on people. Both Jamal and Forrester had some prejudices that had altered their life experience. Writing has liberated Jamal’s academic ability and has since seen him gain admission to university. Forrester gains the courage to return to his homeland where he dies of cancer. 

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