A study of the ecological systems map for the character of Will in "Good Will Hunting"

Essay by materialista March 2004

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Throughout the course of Good Will Hunting, Will Hunting develops from an emotional and social outcast to a strong young man who is healing from his past. Before he makes these changes however, Will is more inclined to display his strong sense of isolation, intelligence and anger through aggression. Attention will be paid to the causes of this aggression, and the steps taken to overcome the adolescent delinquency that he has become a part of.

Will's physical development has been an important aspect of his life. Growing up on the streets of the low-income area of South Boston, and also due to the years of physical abuse suffered at the hands of his foster families, Will was forced to become physically self-reliant. His friends are of the same nature. At the beginning of the movie, before any process of change is begun in Will, we see a scene with Will and his best friends driving past a group of young men playing basketball.

Will recognises one of them as 'the kid that used to beat me up in kindergarten'. They stop the car, and when Morgan protests, he is told by Will's best friend Chuckie that if he does not join them, he will be the next. Morgan didn't want to go, he was happy to enjoy the lunch they had just bought, but he joined in anyway. This is the dynamic of their group, and typical of peer groups lacking stable home lives - you do anything for each other, knowing there is no one else to trust. Also, the brutality with which Will attacked this young man who used to beat him up when they were five years old is disturbing. Will does not give in, and the fury with which he attacks introduces us to the...