Blind Side Essay
In the film, Michael Oher was born and raised in the projects of Memphis, Tennessee. He grew up poor, not knowing his father, and was the son of a crack-addicted mother. Oher did not have a consistent place to live and sometimes stayed with his neighbors. He went along with his neighborhood friend and his father who wanted to enroll his son into a school with a good reputation, Wingate Christian School. While attending the school, he befriends S. J. Tuohy and later welcomed into the home of the upper-class family, the Tuohy’s, who cared and provided for him as if he were one of their own (Johnson & Hancock, 2009).
Oher grew up in the projects of Memphis, Tennessee, unexposed to the world and other environments around him. He grew up in an environment where school was not important. For example, one of his neighbors dropped out of community college to sell drugs. Oher did not have a strong relationship with his mother and did not know his father very well. His mother was addicted to drugs and did not provide the necessities for Oher as a growing child. Before Oher moved in with the Tuohy’s, he had one shirt and one pair of shorts that he washed at night at the local wash house so he could have clean clothes to wear the next day.
Oher used what resources he could in order to fit in at his new school, such as cleaning his own clothes. On evening after a volleyball game, Oher walked throughout the bleachers and collected leftover popcorn from the stands. He did this because he was hungry, had no money to purchase food, and the popcorn was going to be swept up and thrown away. Oher was comfortable in his old environment because it was all he knew and was used to; he did not experience anything otherwise until moving in with the Tuohy’s (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Oher’s social and mental processes determine his actions.
Once Oher began staying with the Tuohy’s, he exhibited gratitude and proper manners. The morning after Oher’s first night’s stay with the Tuohy’s, he crisply folded his sheets and blankets, neatly placed them on the couch, and quietly exited. He cleaned up after himself to the point where it looked as if no one had even slept on the couch. Oher exhibited his mannerism and respect for the family for inviting him into their home so he did not sleep on the streets. Another example of Oher exhibiting his values is during Thanksgiving dinner. Mr.
Tuohy and his children began to eat Thanksgiving dinner while watching a football game. After fixing himself a plate, Oher went to the dining room table, sat, and began eating his mean. Mrs. Tuohy asked why he did that and he responded that it was because it was a holiday meal. Oher valued holiday family meals and exhibited this by sitting at the table. Once Mrs. Tuohy realized why he was eating at the table, she turned off the football game and requested that the entire family sit together to share the holiday meal together as a family.
Although Oher grew up poor in the projects, he still had instilled family values and traditions that carried through to his teenage years (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Oher’s change of environment from living in the projects to living with the Tuohy’s had a major impact on his aspirations for his own future. Oher’s environment in the projects contributed to him not excelling in his previous school along with not having set any goals for himself. While living in the projects, he was surrounded by drug-addicts, drug dealers, and people who did not have jobs or go to school.
Once Oher met the Tuohy’s and started living with them, he received encouragement and motivation to not only go to school, but to excel in school. Oher’s improvement in his schoolwork and football performance was a direct effect of his change in environment from the projects to living with the Tuohy’s (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Oher’s thought processes were determined by his position in social space. When living in the projects, Oher did not have any inspiration or encouragement to excel in life. Before enrolling in Wingate Christian School, Oher maintained a grade point average of 0. and was passed along from grade to grade without obtaining and demonstrating the necessary reading and writing skills needed to move on from grade to grade. Oher’s social status in society was poor, uneducated, and without any role models. After moving in with the Tuohy’s, Oher had support of Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy, their two children, his football coach, and the tutor hired by the Tuohy’s. Oher’s support team provided inspiration and encouragement to succeed in his classes so he could participate in football, along with providing support to apply to college.
Oher’s environments played major roles in the influence of his aspirations for his own future (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Oher received motivation from his football coach, the Tuohy’s, and especially L. J. Oher was considered of perfect size for the position he played in football. Although he was a big boy, he began playing football without being tough and aggressive. Although Oher had a large and intimidating size, he was harmless and did not want to harm anyone or anything. Oher perceived himself as being helpful, unaggressive, not wanting to harm anyone, and not wanting to cause any trouble.
In addition, Oher had a personality that showed he was willing to learn and wanted to please others. With the encouragement of Mrs. Tuohy, S. J. , and his coach, Oher leaned how to be aggressive at the right time while on the field playing football. His support team knew how to coach him to exhibit the right behaviors at the right time while on the football field (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Oher brought more meaning to his life through his participation in the football team by forming relationships with those on his support team. His participation led to a closer bond with S. J. ho he later considers as his own little brother. S. J. helped Oher with training, exercising, and discipline in learning the rules, ins and outs, and how to play football. When Oher first starting practicing with the team, Oher’s football coach was doubtful that Oher could change his ways of not wanting to hurt or harm anyone. Mrs. Tuohy stepped in and explained to Oher to protect the quarterback and particular players on the team, just how he would protect any of the Tuohy’s, whom he considered his own family. Once Mrs. Tuohy explained the analogy to Oher, he improved his performance in football practice.
Once Oher began performing better in the sport, he received more praise and encouragement from those around him. This brought more meaning to his life because it encouraged him to do better in school to participate in the football team along with forming stronger bonds with S. J. , the football coach, his tutor, and Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy with their encouragement and support to succeed in both his schoolwork and football (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). In relation to the ecological paradigm, the film exhibited social and cultural meanings. For example, racism was exhibited in the film.
During a lunch meeting with Mrs. Tuohy and her friends, her friends laughed at her for doing “charity work,” which referred to her taking in Oher from the projects and caring for him as if he were her own son. Another example of social and cultural meaning exhibited in the film are the family values and morals demonstrated by Oher. For example, Oher ate his Thanksgiving dinner at the dining room table because that is what he felt was the proper way to eat a holiday meal. Oher also exhibited strong family values by protecting S. J. in the car accident they were involved with. S. J. was sitting in the front seat when they crashed.
Oher put his arm out to take the impact of the airbags. Oher protected S. J. so he would not be injured by the impact of the airbags in the crash (Johnson & Hancock, 2009). Michael Oher transformed from growing up in the poor projects of Memphis Tennessee to graduating high school from a private Christian school. He went from having an inconsistent place to live, to having his own bed and his own room living with the Tuohy family. He went from having no goals and aspirations to getting a scholarship to a reputable university. He then goes on to play professional football (Johnson & Hancock, 2009).