Addiction: The Story Of Half Nelson By Dan Dunne

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The story of Half Nelson follows a man named Dan Dunne, a crack-cocaine addicted, junior high school history teacher trying to make a difference in his students’ lives. Dunne works with inner-city students and coaches the girls’ basketball team in Brooklyn, New York. The film offers no knowledge of why Dunne is doing drugs, so viewers are only witnessing a portion of the ongoing struggle that is his life. It is mentioned and referenced multiple times throughout the film that Dunne is only using in order to “get by” and that he can stop anytime. This is not accurate as Dunne’s addiction is the one thing that defines every other aspect of his life, yet this film is not about addiction. This film is about his three laws of Dialectics that he is …show more content…

Turning Points Dan Dunne is a 25 year-old, good looking yet scruffy, White, male teacher. He is never portrayed as a “hunk” or a “stud” but people are drawn to him instantly. His intelligence, ideologies and charm pull you in to his character to be able to sympathize with his dark side of addiction. The first opportunity we have to see into this world is shortly after learning that his ex has gotten married. Dunne can’t come to terms that his ex was able to quit her addiction and he is still in the same place as he was years before. He then gets caught smoking crack-cocaine in the girls’ locker room by one of his students – Drey. The two immediately form an unusual yet flattering relationship to help each other out. Drey is constantly looking out for Dunne and keeping his secrets because he wants to change and she believes that he will change. Dunne is very protective over Drey which she gravitates to because she grew up without a relationship with her father. The archetype of a teacher-student relationship is shattered which is the most important aspect of this theme. Dunne is broken – he is the one who will learn from his student and gain from her perspective. Drey becomes the influencer to …show more content…

He is the friend of Drey’s older brother Mike, who got locked up for dealing drugs for Frank. He feels a responsibility to Drey to watch over her and provide for her and her mother. At the same time, Frank wants Drey to start learning how to move his product and become a dealer herself. During the school dance, Dunne confronted Frank as they both offered Drey a ride home. The initial reaction is that Dunne has never met Frank before yet he is so adamant about not allowing Drey to get into the car with him. This is seen as a racist remark of Dunne, a White male, trying to protect Drey from Frank, an African-American male. Another scene with racial controversy is the confrontation at Frank’s house when Dunne asks him to stay away from Drey. Dunne said “I’m telling you to do something good, are you capable of that?” seeming to imply that Frank is not capable due to his qualities of being African-American and a drug dealer. Frank goes on to say sarcastically “It’s good for Drey to have someone like you looking out for her. Mr. Model A1 fucking citizen.” It seems obvious that the issue is about race but there are many different occasions throughout the film that would suggest otherwise. In Dunne’s history class he was teaching about the three laws of dialectics. The first law was written on the board saying “Opposites” which he then asked the class to give examples of what that could mean, starting the list by saying

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