1. See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.
2. See the Quick Discussion Questions on the right side of this page.
3. What was the “Gentleman’s Agreement?” Could the parties to such an agreement really be gentlemen?
The agreement was not to admit Jewish people to certain public facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and clubs, not to hire them to work in certain businesses, and not to allow them to live in certain neighborhoods. It was called a “Gentleman’s Agreement” because it was unstated, something that people, men and women, understood but did not talk about. Discriminating against people on the basis of their religion is not within the true meaning of being a “gentlemen.”
4. Look at this dialog from the film:
Elaine Wales: You just let them get one wrong Jew in here, and it’ll come out of us. It’s no fun being the fall guy for the kikey ones.
Phil Green: Miss Wales, I’m going to be frank with you. I want you to know that words like yid and kike and kikey and coon and nigger make me sick no matter who says them.
Elaine Wales: Oh, but I only said it for a type.
Phil Green: Yeah, but we’re talking about a the word first.
Elaine Wales: Why, sometimes I even say it to myself, about me, I mean. Like, if I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t, I’ll say, “Don’t be such a little kike.” That’s all.
Was Miss Wales prejudiced against her own people? Against herself? Justify your answer and tell us what this fact says, if anything, about her own self-esteem?
Answers will vary. But one of the serious problems with prejudice is what it does to the self-esteem of the people who grow up in a society in which they are thought to be inferior.
Continue to the Male and Female Role Models Section to continue to explore the theme of the film.