Respect In The Paper Chase

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Respect Leads to Success Everyone knows that respect is an important character trait to strive after, and that it is incredibly helpful in life. The movie, The Paper Chase, a 1973 movie directed by James Bridges, demonstrated this in many ways. The protagonist, James Hart, was a student at Harvard Law and sought to earn the respect of Professor Kingsfield, a teacher of one of his classes. Hart and a few other classmates created a study group in order to support one another and pass all their classes. Both respect and success played a large role in the entire film, as did the connection between the two. Hart needed the respect of numerous people in order to succeed at Harvard. For Hart and for all other people, earning the respect of peers,…show more content…
Mentors, especially teachers, wield a good deal of social power. Professor Kingsfield used this social power forcefully, even going so far as to openly embarrass students in his class. This especially affected the student Brooks, who although he had an excellent memory, struggled with analyzing information. The professor called on Brooks multiple times during class, and was unkind when it appeared Brooks was unprepared for class, which led his fellow students to laugh at his expense. The professor also did this to Hart in one scene, saying, “Mr. Hart, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a lawyer.” Naturally, this led Hart to feel ashamed and furious. Luckily, the brutally honest retort he gave did not cause Professor Kingsfield to grow angry, but instead earned his teacher’s respect. This, in turn, helped Hart succeed in that class, and allowed him to continue on his path to success in his life. Even though it can be difficult to earn the respect of mentors, it is well worth it for all of the wisdom and resources they can provide, which can help immensely on the road to success. In the end, if one wants to be successful, he or she has no choice but to earn the respect of peers, friends, and mentors. The film The Paper Chase portrayed this idea through the relationships Hart has with his peers and friends in his study group, his girlfriend Susan, and with Professor Kingsfield. Without these kinds of relationships in life, it is significantly more difficult to succeed intellectually, emotionally, or practically. With mutually-respecting relationships, however, success is not only more attainable, it is often more
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