Jamal is a victim of prejudice. He’s just sixteen, black, and a basketball player. So when he submits his literary work for an essay competition at his highbrow school, his English teacher, Professor Crawford (F.
Murray Abraham) is, quite naturally, suspicious and charges the young writer with plagiarism. Because the disciple has promised never to reveal his association with the master, he is unable to defend himself at the hearing. When Forrester finally leaves his hermetically sealed world and comes forward to take responsibility and defend Jamal, he not only saves his disciple but also gives himself one last chance at living before he succumbs to cancer. One important theme of the film is that writing is a search for self. While the disciple is able to discern the fact that he plays basketball to be accepted by the outside world, but writes to discover his own inner world, Forrester has lost himself as a result of his own literary pursuits. The one-shot Pulitzer Prize winner has not published anything since his famous work; he has been writing but not publishing.
At the end of the film, he not only returns to his native Scotland to rediscover his roots and to die but also leaves a manuscript with his disciple to be published. While writing solely for oneself can be a worthy art for art’s sake concept, unless there is a reader outside of the writer, the writer can never truly discover himself. It is perhaps by influencing the reader that the writer comes closer to self-identification. Just as Forrester comes to learn that he needs a family, he comes to learn that his writing must be shared. The need to learn and the need to teach are part of an endless circle. In Finding Forrester, the fact that the hero is both basketball star and literary star highlights bias in two different worlds. It is not just Crawford who is prejudicial.
The young hero keeps his writing skill and intelligence hidden from his peers. …