Mandy Moore plays a fairly straight laced daughter of a minister in A Walk to Remember who finds out that being involved in relationships with others is more than following a list of to do's and to don'ts. When she is placed in the path of Shane West's character, a 'bad boy' who also needs to learn the value of looking beyond the a person's surface characteristics, the two find that understanding others, and understanding themselves, is a matter of getting past the surface habits, into the 'real' person that often hides, afraid of contact and rejection.
Early in the movie, the two are riding on the bus to school together, and the issues of personal knowledge and personal acceptance are brought to the surface via a typically teen conversation. Mandy attempts to engage Shane in a conversation, and is abruptly shut down. He doesn't appreciate her attempts to be nice, and rejects the idea that she could be remotely interested in a real conversation. He snaps back that he knows all about her already, and doesn't need her trying to be nice to him. In response, Mandy says, "Don't pretend you know me." Shane snaps back all the external data he has collected about her during their 10 or so years of school together. She only has one sweater - when she walks, she looks at her feet - she always sits at the same table in the lunch room - and her bible is rarely far away. All the externals about Mandy are clues enough, for Shane, to tell hem that he isn't interested. But Mandy's response is on a surprisingly deeper level, and foreshadows the direction of the rest of the movie. She say's "I've heard that before."
In other words, Mandy's character knows the external things about herself, and how they have formed social barriers around her. But she also knows that those eternal things do not define the person and young woman she is becoming. She may be an awkward, ugly duckling as she approached people, but she wants to find a way out of her shell, and connect with another person. The movie, in a theme which as been woven into hundreds of other box office titles, follows the two as they break through the social stereotypes to find that the individual, the substance of their personhood, is more than their external habits and shells.
2) wHAT SOCIAL OR PERSONAL ISSUES ARE INTRODUCED AND HOW ARE THEY ADDRESSED?- COVERTLY OR OVERTLY
The social issues in the movie revolve around the lifestyle each character has experienced, and the associated stereotypes which the characters need to work through in order to begin to understand themselves and the other. Mandy's character is a preacher's daughter. She has a straight laces approach to life, and is content with herself in a structured, and well defined existence.
As the two are getting to know each other, the relationship created significant turmoil for Mandy. At one point, in a line heard in dozen's of films, she stops running from him, and says "My life was fine - until I met you." In other words she though she new herself, and her desires for her life until a person engaged her that was so different, yet so similar.
Conversely, the bad boy Shane thinks that his life is together, and he understands himself as a function of his social identity until he meets a girl, that is unlike him, and gives him a reason to question the rebelliousness which he has made his moniker. Both of the characters are living behind social habits that are becoming walls until the other gives them reasons to question the boundaries, and find personal motives to change.
3) WHAT LIFE LESSONS ARE PORTRAYED OR IMPLIED AND GIVE EXAMPLES.
One significant life lesson portrayed by Mandy's character is that life is more than lists of accomplishments. Early in the film, she makes it clear that she has a mental 'list' of accomplishments that she wants to complete. Some are sheer fantasy, such as being in two places at one time. Some are inevitable, such as being stuck with a person who she doesn't like and who doesn't like her. Others are goals the bend her establishes social boundaries - she wants to get a tattoo. And the list goes on. The viewer never knows them all, but can see that Moore's character is living live by the numbers, rather than engaging herself.
Shane's character has to overcome the same life lesson, of trying to live life through an external shell, but he comes to the table from the other side of the coin. Shane's character keeps the walls up by rejecting others, and his rebellion is the reason which he and Moore initially meet. He learns that by accepting others, regardless of how different they are, he enters into a relational setting in which he can find reasons to accept himself. The scene in the movie which demonstrates that his shell is beginning to crack is a late night wherein the two are alone with Moore's telescope. Moore wants to look at stars, and stay in an area in which she feels in control. Shane's character pulls out a blanket, and a thermos of coffee, as he attempts to shift the situation into one in which he feels on control. When she asks, "Are you trying to seduce me?" he respond, "Are you seducible?" When more slowly shakes her head, he pulls out a second blanket, one just for her. The lesson portrayed through the awkwardness of teenage politics is that each person has to give a little, and accept the other's differences if their relationship is going to be able to move forward.
4) IN WHAT WASY COULD THIS MOVIE CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY OR BE USED TO BRING AWARNESS TO ISSUES RELATING TO THE SELF AND ITS RELATED COMPONENTS
Regarding this movies contribution to society, there is little in the way of new understanding, or social contribution in this film that hasn't been seen on the movie screen before. Teen age years are awkward years, and from the movie Grease to the more adult version of the same story line Dangerous Minds these films all communicate the same message. Each person has individual understandings of themselves, and of those around them. When we find reasons to break those barriers, which are at times self imposed, and at other times imposed by society around us, then we find a path toward self acceptance and future positive contribution to others.
5) PICK A MAJOR CHARACTER TRACK AND IDENTIFY THEIR INTERGRATION OF SELF.
Shane's character, although portrayed in the movie as a person who knows about himself, and is someone wise in the ways of the world, is the character that must make the most significant self-adjustment. He portrays to others that he is in control. He chooses what he wants be involved with, and what he wants to leave outside the perimeter of his life. What he finds in Moore's character is a reason to let down the rebelliousness and anger which he uses as a shield in order to discover that he does have personal worth. The anger in his life is both a shield against society around him, and a barrier between understanding and accepting his own limitations. The playground bully is often the person who is hurting the most in the inside, and Shane's character qualifies. Mandy's kindness slowly finds the weak point of his emotional armor.
6)USE THE CONCEPTS IN CHAPETER ONE OF THE BOOK, PERSON TO PERSON WRITEN BY SHARON L. HANNA, AND EXPAND ON THE CONCEPTS IMPLICABLE IN THIS MOVIE
Hanna's book describes that relationships are a learned behavior. She says we learn our social habit, which in…