Michael Oher is a “lost” teen from Memphis who is extremely soft spoken despite his enormous physical stature. The term “gentle giant” could not be more accurate in his case. Throughout Michael’s entire childhood he has seen the negative side of living in the abject poverty and being surrounded by drugs and gang violence. The many social and economic problems that Michael deals with are a result of his father not being in the picture and his single mother finding herself struggling with addiction, relationship issues and financial challenges. Because of this, Michael was forced into foster care and never had the ability to have a place to call his home. Ultimately, Michael finds himself at Wingate Christian School on an athletic scholarship, after being removed from several schools due to his academic underperformance. This was the first step in the series of events that lead him to meet the Tuohy’s who helped to change his life for the better. The family approached him one night after the school’s volleyball game, asking if he needed a ride home. He politely declined, stating he was on his way to the gym, but the Tuohy’s knew this was untrue and that he had no home to go to. They invited Michael to stay at their house for the night, and this small, seemingly random act of kindness lead to the Tuohy’s becoming his adoptive family later on in the movie.CLASS
When growing up in a ghetto, there seems to be many factors that cause individuals to live chaotic and unstructured lifestyle, which we can see by looking at their measures of socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, the individuals who live in the poverty stricken areas are subject to insufficient income, education, occupation, and wealth. It is not uncommon for these lower socioeconomic groups to be sorely lacking in hope and in options for escaping an impoverished fate. The poor are also heavily influenced by gang activity and drug violence. The Blind Side illustrates these measures of socioeconomic status multiple times when there are scenes that take place in the neighborhood projects that Michael’s mother lives in. There is large clash between upper class and lower class in the scene where Mrs. Tuohy drives up to the ghetto neighborhood in her brand new luxury car while wearing all of her expensive attire. She displays everything that the people of the neighborhood will never have such as an in-tact family, wealth, and a college education. **** tie to coursework
Poverty is part of the life that Michael Oher experienced his whole life. Ever since he was born he has been at an extremely low poverty level because of his surroundings, coupled with being raised by a single mom who tried her best but ultimately failed her children. The story behind the numbers video: “Which families are in poverty?” in our coursework highlights the issue of poverty among single parent families, which is applicable to The Blind Side. It is pretty noticeable throughout the entire movie that Michael’s economic position is extremely poor. After basketball games he walks around the bleachers to collect the fans’ leftover popcorn so that he can have something to eat at night for dinner. Also, in order to wash his clothes he must wait until somebody at the coin laundry building comes in to pay for a wash so that he can sneak his clothes in there too. Michael’s poverty has an extremely damaging effect on all other aspects of his life because of how difficult everyday life situations are for him. It also affects his level of education since that is not a priority in his family of origin.
LOVE, NURTURING & FAMILY
By growing up the way he did, Michael Oher did not come to learn what love was until he was almost through his high school years. When the government stepped in to take him away from his mother early on in his life, it sent him on a steep downward spiral of emotions that made it hard for him to accept other people, and conversely, for other people to accept him. Michael never received any sort of paternal love from his parents because his dad was out of the picture and his mother was never around long enough to have a stable relationship with him. This situation that involves a lack of love most closely relates to utilitarian love from our text because it is practical and rational for somebody who is in a lower socioeconomic class. This is not the ideal familial love that most people hope to have in which the parents stay together and have a steady enough income for the family to live comfortably. Instead this is the latter that involves child protective services, constant inundation of tears, and an almost complete vacancy of immediate family members. Sadly, Michael’s biological mother is caught in a cycle of poverty. Her lack of education keeps her from having a good job. The lack of a good job keeps her from being able to support her family and places her in government-supported housing. And living the in ghetto limits opportunities for bettering oneself and exposes the families to violence, drugs and other criminal behavior. In the end, the odds are too much and Michael is fortunate to find a family that can give him not only material necessities, but also the love and belonging of an intact, healthy family.
The Blind Side supported my understanding of how important family and marriage is to not only an individual, but to all of the people around them. This movie has a lot of credibility in my eyes because it is based of a true story. The course material that we have is accurately depicted in the film because it shows real life examples that are often seen in lower income families. By showing how Michael Oher came from a broken household that was constantly berated with negative influence, The Blind Side shows how important class, poverty, and the nurturing love of a family is for somebody’s life.