The character that I would like to focus on from “Freedom Writers” is Marcus. In my opinion this character has the most heart-breaking and warming parts in the film. What I’ve noticed about this character is a consistent, innate loyalty that I believe stems mostly from his roots.
From what may be gleaned of his microsystem, Marcus’s truly differentiating factor was his mother. There is no mention of a father-figure, and the only other influences may be only the other neighborhood kids he grew up with early on. Since the character of Marcus seems so very loyal to all those he cares for, I’m going to make the assumption that his mother spent a lot of time instilling the idea of loyalty into Marcus. The neighborhood he lives in may have had gangs there, which is what led him to start affiliating with them. The loyalty his mother influenced was probably a very attractive quality to these same gangs, given that one of the whole points of a gang is to gain protection from your peers.
Marcus’s mesosystem is also an important staging moment for his chronosystem. His mother clearly does not approve of gang activity, and also clearly has enough knowledge of it to know her son starts affiliating with them. Marcus probably did not tell her this, so it may be inferred that either the neighbors told her or the gang is close enough to her home that she knows about most of their dealings but decides to look away. That is until her son joins them. Marcus’s chronosystem is when his mother kicks him out of the house for his gang affiliation. Since then Marcus does not seem very good at making connections anymore. He sits alone in class, does not appear to have anybody he really talks to in school, and doesn’t even seem very connected to the gang he’d been affiliating with. Ever since his mother kicked him out, his microsystem has become very small and with only the influence of the gang he was in affiliation with.
It’s easy to say that Marcus has grown up in a low-functioning exosystem. The school he goes to tries to integrate the students but has no meaningful knowledge of how to actively do so. However, a more important note about his exosystem I the lack of proper CPS support or amount of credible youth centers he can go to. After he is kicked out, Marcus lives in a shack with only minimal essentials. Marcus may be a teenager, but he is still a minor in this film! It would appear that he has nowhere to go and must become a squatter someplace just for shelter. If a reasonable CPS worker had been informed that his mother had kicked him out (for whatever the reason), Marcus would not be living in that shack. He would have been in a youth center, in the foster system, or any number of temporary housing programs if his mother refused to care for him. Marcus’s entire exosystem is dangerously negligent to the needs of minors like him who do not have homes, are estranged from their family, and are heavily influenced by gang activity.
Speaking from my own opinion, and given that Marcus is based on real people with similar situations, I believe it is safe to say that the true issue with Marcus’s macrosystem is a lack of awareness. Whenever I have a conversation about underprivileged areas or schools and the children who are a part of them, a lot of people I talk to always immediately assume that the people in charge of these things are just refusing to use resources. For example, we have many government issued programs running just for the protection of “at-risk” youth. Tax dollars go to these programs and thus people assume that the teenagers are just refusing aid. This is not always true. The biggest issue I’ve found with most government programs like this is unawareness. Either the program does not have good outreach sources to find the people who need their services, or the people themselves don’t know that these programs exist at all! That doesn’t mean they are stupid, it means that they have more pressing priorities like finding a place to sleep and eat. It doesn’t matter if these programs would help with that or not, how can someone seek help if they don’t know where to look? They can’t, and teenagers like Marcus suffer because they miss out on this aid intended for them and thus are discriminated as not wanting help at all.
Overall, Marcus is a character who is very reclusive and lives in solitude for most of the film. His kind and loyal nature is repressed by the circumstances of his micro and mesosystems. Marcus’s exosystem leaves something to be desired as far as resources go. Finally, Marcus lives in a country where great systems are in place to give aid but are not being advertised enough to make a connection to him, or those like him, in order to do their job.