2. Will Hunting's Attitudes towards Education and Career


2.4.: 4th Episode: At Sean Maguire's Office


2.3. The next episode is set at Sean’s office. Will, his patient, has just arrived for his obligatory treatment as part of his weekly routine returning from a job interview with the NSA. Because of the fact that Will is a mathematical genius there are plenty of job offers and he ‘only’ has to make the choice.


2.3.1. In groups of four discuss the principles which provide the basis for your choice of a job. Rank them. Then introduce your findings convincingly to the class.


2.3.2. Study the list of American slang words and phrases and put the words into the appropriate place in the screenplay below. Afterwards watch the episode and make sure that you placed the words correctly.


blue plate special

a specially priced main course as of meat and vegetables listed as an item on a menu, especially in an expensive restaurant

give a shit

care, be concerned


reneging, evasion, not a valid apology

take a shot

make an attempt

scare up

obtain with effort

hike up

rise, move up

cash in one’s chips

die, quit   cf. poker


comrade, chum


person suffering from fatigue frustration or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork or intense activity


to be repellent or disgusting

Uncle Sam

Personification of the government of people of the US represented as a tall, lean man with white chin whiskers, wearing a blue tailcoat, red- and white striped trousers and a top hat with a band of stars (1805-1815)

ante up

to continue playing (poker), take risks of losing sth

turn a quick buck

buck means Dollar (cf. buckskin), make money quickly



play one’s hand

make a decision when having a hand full of cards (cf. poker)





Good Will Hunting – A Screenplay; Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, with an introduction by Gus Van Sant. Miramax Books, Hyperion, New York 1997, pp. 125 –129.



So, you might be working for ….. …..


I don’t know.


Gerry says the meeting went well.


I guess.


What did you think?


What did I think?

Say I’m working at N.S.A.. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. So I … … … at  it and maybe I break it. And I’m really happy with myself, ‘cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never had a problem with get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Send in the marines to secure the area” ‘cause they don’t  … … … . It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t  them when their number got called, ‘cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some guy from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes home to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ‘cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile my buddy from Southie realizes the only reason he was over there was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And of course the oil companies used the skirmish to ….. … oil prices so they could ….. … …. ….. .A cute little ancillary benefit for them but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And naturally they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink Martinis and play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ‘til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life  in the North Atlantic. So my …… is out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the job interviews, which ……  'cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin' him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin'  'cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat  the only ….. ….. ….. they're  servin' is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State.

So what 'd  I think? I’m holdin' out for somethin' better. I figure I'll eliminate the middleman. Why not just shoot my ……, take his job and give it to his sworn enemy, …… gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? Christ, I could be elected president.

… I didn’t want the job.


It’s not about that job. I’m not saying you should work for the government. But you could do anything you want. And there are people who work their whole lives  layin’ brick so their kids have a chance at the kind of opportunity you have. What do you want to do?


I did not ask for this.


Nobody gets what they ask for, Will. That’s a …. …..


Why is it a cop-out? I don’t see anythin’ wrong with layin’ brick. That’s somebody’s home I’m buildin’. Or fixin’ somebody’s

 car – somebody’s gonna get to work the next day ‘cause of me. There’s honor in that.


You’re right, Will. Any man who takes a forty-minute train ride so those college kids can come in in the morning and their floors will be clean and their trash cans  will be empty is an honorable man.

And when they get drunk and ….. in the sink, they don’t have to see it next morning because of you. That’s real work, Will. And there is honor in that. Which I’m sure is why you took the job. I just want to know why you decided to sneak around at night, writing on chalkboards and lying about it. 'Cause there’s no honor in that. – Something you want to say?

Why don’t you come back when you have an answer for me.




If you won’t answer my questions, you’re wasting my time.


What?  Fuck you!

Who the fuck are you to lecture me about life? You fuckin’ ……. ! Where’s your “soul mate"?!

Dead! She dies and you just  …. …. …. ….. That’s a fuckin’  …..!


I been there. I played my hand.


That’s right. And you fuckin’ lost. And some people would have the sack to lose a big hand like that and still come back and ante up again!


Look at me. What do you want to do.

You and your bullshit. You got an answer for everybody. But I asked you a straight question and you can’t give me a straight answer. Because you don’t know.



NSA – National Security Agency: ancillary – subsidary, assisting; Quaker State – oil used for cars; vocabulary used in poker games: cash in your chips, play your hand, ante up;


2.3.3. Read the conversation between Sean and Will again and complete the following assignments, first on your own, and later in discussion in groups of four. At the end fill in the main ideas on the worksheet and be prepared to present them in class.


-         What do you understand by "Uncle Sam"? Which associations does this term evoke?


-         Why has Will not taken the job he was offered? Comment on Will’s arguments.

-         What kind of job is Will interested in and why?


-         Analyze (describe and explain) the way in which Will and Sean argue. Support your answers with reference to the text.


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