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In the Biopic of Erin Brockovich we are first introduced to our main character as a single mother of three, who has been divorced twice and left alone to fend for her family. Brockovich appears to be disparate in her situation, as her career aspirations are constrained by single motherhood and unemployment. This essay will be exploring the development of Brockovich as a character in regards to her power and confidence by addressing the question of whether or not Brockovich is just a typical stereotype of a single mother or is she testament that hard work and resilience pays off.
With a series of unfortunate events making up the better part of Brockovich’s life, more specifically her accident, she is not made to depict efficiency, intelligence and reliability but instead helplessness. With help from her promiscuous clothing and foul-mouth, our first impression of her is one of a professional escort, proving her to be a stereotype of a desperate single mother willing to do anything for money. It is with further analysis that we see Brockovich being honed and strengthened; as the absence of prospects forces her to take initiative and assert herself in the law firm. This action would later prove to be both a blessing and a challenge as she stumbles upon questionable medical documents of the PG&E company. With much effort and courage she manages to convince people that there is something wrong going on and gets her point across, despite them dismissing her due to her assumed lack of competence with law. Her commitment to the project and consideration of the families, “Who’s number do you need?, “was tremendous and exemplified just how strong and genuine she is as a character. Had it not been for her resilience, individual persistence and strong moral compass, Brockovin’s unlikely triumph would not have been possible… thus contradicting the stereotype.
Erin Brockovin is a symbol of empowerment as she surpasses a multitude of obstacles and gets more than she warranted for. Initially it is evident that due to her unfortunate past, divorces and finances, she has adapted a tough exterior and tries to conceal her vulnerabilities. Through the course of the film we see her attempting to balance motherhood, career and a sense of self-worth. In the business sense Brockovich does not have any power as she is not even a qualified lawyer – ”Well seeing that I have no legal expertise…I just went out to perform sexual acts,” – but makes up for it through her cognitive abilities. Despite her capabilities being overlooked, she fights tooth and nail to get the case running – which results in her catching the attention of a multi-billion dollar company, PG&E. She is seen as a threat, and receives a menacing phone call goading her to “stop the investigation if you know what’s good for you and your family,” but Brockovich’s conscience will not allow her to quite and prompts her to solder on – regardless of her unconventional looks and status. This boosts her confidence and enables her to challenge their system. Meanwhile she falls short in the motherhood department as she is preoccupied with her work research…leaving her children with George. She is not there mentally but takes preemptive measures to insure that her children have a stable and promising life. Although she might not appear to be a conventional mother she continuously shows her children that with good things comes sacrifice. “NOT PERSONAL! That is my WORK, SWEAT and MY TIME AWAY FROM MY KIDS.”
Throughout the movie the viewers see that the stereotype of a single mother being continuously broken as Erin Brockovich makes strides in her career and personal life. Brockovich is a testament that hard work and resilience pays off. She is the personified version of: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.
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