Jordan Baldridge’s Weblog

November 22, 2007

Essay/Reflection on Good Will Hunting for Mr. Phirman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jordan Baldridge @ 4:59 pm

The film Good Will Hunting is the journey and story of a young, South Boston man’s troubled life and his opening up and moving on into the world. Like Will Hunting, the main character, many of us go through stages and periods in our life and can probable relate to him in some way. I have lived almost 18 years, three shy off Will, but know many of his feelings, experiences, and ways and I relate to him in many ways.

There are many key points in the movie Good Will Hunting that signify important stages in the development of Will Hunting. Will works at MIT College as a janitor, and one night he easily does a near-impossible equation/proof. He runs away when he is caught working on another. One night Will and his degenerate friends go to a preppy, college bar where he displays his wit, genius, and defensiveness for his friends by talking down some preppy, stuck-up student. Will meets Skyla, a rich, British MIT student. The next day, he and his friends are driving around, and they see some guy yelling at a young woman. They are highly offended and angered by this and proceed to fight the guy and his friends. When the cops show up, Will is the only one who continues to fight and is arrested. In his trial, we see his mass intelligence and wit as he smoothly defends himself. We also hear about his criminal record and rap sheet. Gerald Lambo, the MIT professor who caught Will at school, strikes a deal with the judge to get him out of jail as long as Will works with him, goes to a psychiatrist, and finds a real, good job. Will goes to psychiatrists, but only makes fools out of them. We also see the South Boston way of life of rough and toughness and drinking with Will and his friends. Will eventually meets Sean, a very brilliant psychiatrist who grew up in the same neighborhood and way as he did. Sean begins to really get through and work with Will. As Sean progresses, Will begins to mature and progress in his relationships and openness, especially with his new girlfriend: Skyla. Eventually, Will feels he is being pressured and forced too much to do what Lambo and others want him to do. Will becomes very frustrated with Lambo’s difficulty with math and begins to take this out on others; on Lambo and primarily with Skyla. He breaks up with and avoids her, as he feels they are too close. Will begins to skip out on Lambo and almost on Sean as well. While at construction work, his friend Chuckie tells him he is wasting his life and talent and wishes for his abilities or anything even remotely close. Will must change and decides he must go to Sean. When he goes to Sean, he finally breaks down and opens up completely. Will later takes a job at some firm and learns that Sean is leaving to go travel and “put his chips back out on the table”. Will then decides that he is “gotta go see about a girl.” Will leaves a note telling Sean and then goes to find Skyla in California.

Will Hunting is a highly intellectual, brilliant young man from the South Boston area who is scarred from his birth to his childhood all the way up to his present status. Will was abandoned as a baby by his birth parents. He was in and out of foster homes. His foster father was a drunkard who beat, burnt, and stabbed him. Will is emotionally and literally poor and in poverty, never really having anyone there to truly trust, rely on, or connect to in his life. He feels betrayed by all and rejects all that is different. He never really gets a chance to explore life or to take advantage of his genius. Will later falls into crime and has to grow up fast. Will Hunting develops a “tough-guy” and “screw off” attitude, persona, and style, using foul language and doing anything he pleases. He is hardened by his early child-hood experiences and his bad-neighborhood, South Boston settings. Will creates a fake, hard outer-shell to keep anyone from getting to close and has developed several defense-mechanisms to barricade himself. Will uses quips, sarcasm, cruelty, anger, facts, sheer-brilliance, and frankly just the “a**hole” attitude all as part of this barricade. Will cherishes his friends as his only true family and really fears veering from them too much or differentiating at all from them and their lifestyle. Will is so hardened that he is afraid to step out into the world and truly try and taste the fruit of life and see what it holds. Will is also very wary and trusts no one other than his three closest friends. He denies to let anyone else inside and know his feelings and pains. He can not be real and he hurts others to hide. As another defense mechanism he has developed, he hurts and pushes others away to “protect” himself from the inevitable and future pains and feelings that come with all. He is already so disappointed and hurt that he is scared. Too fearful to open up himself, he criticizes and chews up all those that try to help him who he feels have fallen into ruts and pains of their own or that he just cannot trust fully. In this way he becomes self-righteous and a hypocrite, as much as he may call and “prove” them to be. As Will progresses we see how self-critical, self-deprecating, self-loathing, and self-blaming Will is from his upbringing and past. But he still tries to hide and deny it, not wanting anyone to truly see or know him for how he feels. By feeling those feelings and using those defense mechanisms, Will does not ever truly see or appreciate everything or everyone for what it is worth and in the way in which all around him want to be. Will truly fears moving on in his life and is filled and controlled with ultimate cynicism, pessimism, guilt, and distrust. Will has become a hardened shell of clay that has been baking in the sun. After too much time, it is only a matter of time until he just entirely falls to pieces.

I can relate to many of the experiences, attitudes, and traits of Will Hunting. Throughout life, I have felt like many that I have trusted, depended, or cared deeply for have let me down, deserted me, or betrayed me in some way. One way is that although I know my parents and family love me and care about me, I always felt like I could not live up to their expectations or what they wanted me to do or be. I always felt like a let down and failure which really adds to the sense of worthlessness I always felt and sometimes still do. I also have felt the feelings of betrayal and abuse that Will does. Something I have only told one other person is that when I was 10-ish I had a very close friend who was a couple years older than me. He was of course older and knew and understood things at which I had not come to know yet, and he took advantage of me. Although I had no idea of what any of that was or meant at the time, I still feel a huge feeling of guilt and stupidity and am so ashamed and angry at myself. I tried to tell one person about that though. She is my ex-girlfriend and when we broke up she took what she knew and distorted it to use against me and start mass rumors about me at school which I still hear from people today. I now find it almost impossible to even want to get that close to anyone now because of that betrayal so I feel I can definitely relate to Will. When someone takes something that you cannot even tell a soul or get over and uses it as a weapon, it makes it that much harder when I hear those rumors and such. That entire relationship with my ex-girlfriend and some of the things we did to each other really tore me apart. There was so much fighting; I find it insane that we went as far as we did. She is an emotionally abusive human being and made two years of my life a living hell. Her betrayal is truly a lot of what has made me such an extremely bitter, angry, hardened, mistrusting person like Will. Throughout my childhood as well as today I have always been ridiculed and attacked for my liberal ways and extreme individuality. I was always a shy, quiet person, despite how much my voice carries, but for some reason kids always felt the need to make fun of me. It is so annoying and immature that now I realize that that is all it is, but the fact that I have been victim has made me so pessimistic and cynical. Sometimes I feel that there is no point to people because they can get so out of control in their childish affairs, but I know that after high school when they get into the real world, they are going to get hit very hard by reality. Having those closed minded people around has left me empty and unfulfilled in finding someone to really open up to, be able to trust, or really connect to and have real conversations with. That is really part of the reason I have tried forming relationships with adults such as some teachers like Mr. Shonebarger or other adults such as Father Sterling because of the maturity I know is there. (I actually would like to admit that I like and appreciate having to type this essay and I thank you Mr. Phirman.). Another way in which I relate to Will is that I have very much formed an angry, screw you, tough guy attitude and style to hide those feelings and push off those attacks. I have formed the same self-defense mechanisms as Will. Whenever I really start getting close to a person, especially girls, I tend to become and act bitterly and make a huge butt-hole out of myself and push them away. I hate it too, because I do not want to push people away, it just comes naturally and I hate it. I have even developed the trait of clever facts and quips to fight back. It is a natural defense mechanism to keep myself from having to get too involved and feel the inevitable pains. I know that it holds me back, but I have been going out more, trying new things, and putting myself out there. I also used to curse just by nature like Will and his friends, but I worked greatly at fixing that and succeeded. Another trait I hold as Will does is my great defense and care for those I love. I will fight to the bitter end with anyone for my friends and family, despite my rather pacifist beliefs. My friends are my family my life; just as for Will. One other major way that I have been like Will is the untapped potential. I know I am nowhere near the genius of Will, but I do know that I really work only about 50% of my true potential most of the time. I just do not feel challenged or interested enough in the subject matter get into it and do the work. In grade school, I worked and had straight A’s; getting in trouble for anything under a 90%. But ever since high school started up I just fell out of interest and stopped caring. I want to show people what I can really do because I made a fool out of myself. I have been working hard this year because I missed the feeling of accomplishment. Now, such as in Pre-cal, when I make myself pay attention, I really get interested and I really have come to really enjoy classes like Pre-cal and you Mr. Phirman as a teacher, like Will and Sean. I am working just as Will and getting back out into my life.

The story and development of Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting is a very deep and reflective one. We can all think of some one or some way to relate to his story. I have found many ways in which I relate and am reflected by Will Hunting’s life, style, and feelings. In conclusion, this essay with the film has really been a great outlet for me to reflect and relate my feelings and life to you. I thank you very much Mr. Phirman for this opportunity and hope to continue a relationship in which we students, including myself, can fall back to you for guidance and outlet as Will did with Sean. Thank you again.


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