SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS FOR PRECIOUS
Go to the Learning Guide for this film.
Additional Discussion Questions
8. What was the strongest emotion that you felt when watching the film? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer.
9. What happens to Precious' self-image over the course of the story? Suggested Response: She has a very poor self-image at the beginning of the film. By the end of the film her self-image is stronger: strong enough for her to reject her mother's description of her as dumb and not educable, that she can care for her children, that she can live on her own.
10. What happened to Precious would totally destroy many people. Yet, Precious was able to respond to Ms. Rain's caring and teaching. What made Precious able to withstand abuse that would have crushed many people? Suggested Response: There is no one correct response. A suggested response is that Precious was just strong. At the first sign of nurturing love, she was able to blossom. She had an inner strength.
11. The name of the novel on which this movie is based is "Push" What is the significance of that title? Suggested Response: This is an injunction that one must push the boundaries of one's life. Precious must work hard to learn to read, to learn to take care of her children, to overcome the injury caused by the incest and abuse etc. "Pushing" is what life is all about.
12. What do you think of the ending of the story? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer to the question. A good response will discuss hope and HIV.
13. The author of the novel said, "One of the myths we've been taught is that oppression creates moral superiority. I'm here to tell you that the more oppressed a person is, the more oppressive they will be. (Bomb, Fall 1996) Do you agree or disagree? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer to this question.
See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.
Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions
All of the discussion questions relate to this topic.
1. What does it take for Precious to develop self-esteem? Suggested Response: Love and caring from an adult. In this case it was primarily her teacher, Ms. Rain who nurtured her. Then Precious had to learn to act on her own behalf, i.e., to make decisions for her own interests, even if she would act at the expense of others. The first good decision that Precious made this was to go to the alternative school in response to the slight amount of interest in her shown by principal Lichtenstein. Another was to keep going to the alternative school despite resistance from her mother. Another was to leave home.
2. What is a theme of this film that relates to self-esteem? Suggested Response: See Themes A — C in the suggested response to Discussion Question #3 in the Guide.
3. What does this story try to tell us about people who are are lesbian, gay, or bisexual? Suggested Response: They can be caring, nurturing individuals and great teachers just like other people.
(Be kind; Be compassionate and show you care; Express gratitude; Forgive others; Help people in need)
1. State two themes of this film that relate to caring? Suggested Response: See Themes D — H in the suggested response to Discussion Question #3 in the Guide.
See the question relating to GBLTQ topics in these Supplemental Materials.
See also Discussion Questions which Explore Ethical Issues Raised by Any Film.
Bridges to Reading:
The novel on which the movie is based raises additional issues such as Mary's sexual abuse of her daughter. TWM recommends the book for sophisticated high school students and college classes.
Links to the Internet:
- Sexual Abuse Statistics from the National Center for Victims of Violent Crime;
- The Movie Review: 'Precious' by Christopher Orr, The New Republic, November 13, 2009;
- Precious, Sexual Abuse & Eating Disorders Published on December 28, 2009 by Susan Albers, Psy.D. in Comfort Cravings in Psychology Today;
- In-Depth: Understanding Dissociative Disorders by Marlene Steinberg, M.D.;
- Reasons that Children do not Tell from Child Safe of Central Missouri;
- Why Don't Child Sex Abuse Victims Tell by David M. Allen, M.D. in Psychology Today, October 22, 2012;
- Child Sexual Abuse Facts Children's Assessment Center; Houston;
- Prevalence of Individual Adverse Childhood Experiences from the CDC;
- Screen Play for Precious.
Common Core State Standards that can be Served by this Learning Guide
(Anchor Standards only)
Multimedia: Anchor Standard #7 for Reading (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). (The three Anchor Standards read: "Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media, including visually and quantitatively as well as in words.") CCSS pp. 35 & 60. See also Anchor Standard # 2 for ELA Speaking and Listening, CCSS pg. 48.
Reading: Anchor Standards #s 1, 2, 7 and 8 for Reading and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 35 & 60.
Writing: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 5 and 7- 10 for Writing and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 41 & 63.
Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 3 (for ELA classes). CCSS pg. 48.
Not all assignments reach all Anchor Standards. Teachers are encouraged to review the specific standards to make sure that over the term all standards are met.
Selected Awards, Cast and Director:
Selected Awards: 2010 Academy Awards: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
(Mo'Nique); Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher); 2010 Academy Awards Nominated: Best Motion Picture of the Year (Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness); Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Gabourey Sidibe); Best Achievement in Directing (Lee Daniels)' Best Achievement in Film Editing (Joe Klotz)
Featured Actors: Gabourey Sidibe as Precious;
Mo'Nique as Mary;
Paula Patton as Ms. Rain;
Mariah Carey as Ms. Weiss;
Sherri Shepherd as Cornrows;
Lenny Kravitz as Nurse John;
Stephanie Andujar as Rita;
Chyna Layne as Rhonda;
Amina Robinson as Jermaine;
Xosha Roquemore as Joann;
Angelic Zambrana as Consuelo
Aunt Dot as Toosie;
Nealla Gordon as Mrs. Liechtenstein.
Director: Lee Daniels.
See Links to the Internet and the Reader's Guide at the end of the novel Push by Sapphire, First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, May 1997. All page references in this Learning Guide are to that edition.
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