Study Guide

Million Dollar Baby Respect


SCRAP: People love violence. They'll slow down at a car wreck to check for bodies. Same people claim to love boxing. They got no idea what it is. Boxing is about respect: getting it for yourself, and taking it away from the other guy.

What more can we say? Scrap loves himself some speechifying, and here he sums up boxing's bruised and battered core. It's all about respect.

SCRAP: She came from southwestern Missouri, the hills outside the scratchy-ass Ozark town of Theodosia, set in the cedars and oak trees, somewhere between nowhere and goodbye. She grew up knowing one thing: she was trash.

Maggie's upbringing wasn't exactly luxurious. Based on what we see of her family, it wasn't especially loving, either. Now, it's her main motivation to succeed and be respected as a champion.

SCRAP: She'd come 1,800 miles, but Theodosia was still just over the hill.

We get this line from Scrap when a customer at the restaurant spots Maggie pocketing another diner's leftover steak. She may be embarrassed, she may even feel a little ashamed, but she's got a bigger plan. And she needs her protein!

MAGGIE: I seen you looking at me.

FRANKIE: Yeah, out of pity.

MAGGIE: Don't you say that. Don't you say that if it ain't true. I want a trainer. I don't want charity, and I don't want favors.

Our girl Maggie's all about achieving her dreams the honest way, on her own.

FRANKIE: You got big holes in your socks.

SCRAP: Oh, they're not that big.

FRANKIE: Didn't I give you money for some new ones?

SCRAP: These are my sleeping socks. My feet like a little air at night.

FRANKIE: How come you're wearing them in the daytime, then?

SCRAP: 'Cause my daytime socks got too many holes in them.

Believe it or not, Frankie and Scrap's squabbles are a sign of their respect for one another. Their brotherly bickering reinforces their equality and sense of belonging. But Scrap should still get some new socks.

MAGGIE: We're flying?

FRANKIE: Would you rather drive?

MAGGIE: You're askin' me?

FRANKIE: Would you rather fly or would you rather drive?

MAGGIE: So, I finally get to decide something?

FRANKIE: That's what I'm saying.

MAGGIE: Fine. Fly there, drive back.

FRANKIE: That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. How the hell are we going to do that?

MAGGIE: You said it was up to me.

We have respect working on two levels here, Shmooper: First, Frankie's actually letting Maggie make a decision. Second, he's giving her a hard time about said decision. In the culture of the Hit Pit gym, taking the mickey out of somebody like that is a sign of respect, comfort, and camaraderie. Just look at Frankie and Scrap.

MAGGIE: I got a favor to ask you, boss.

FRANKIE: Sure. Anything you want.

MAGGIE: Remember what my daddy did for Axel?

FRANKIE Don't even think about that.

MAGGIE: I can't be like this, Frankie. Not after what I done. I've seen the world. People chanted my name. Well, not my name, some damn name you gave me. But they were chanting for me. I was in magazines. You think I ever dreamed that'd happen? I was born two pounds, one-and-a-half ounces. Daddy used to tell me I'd fight to get into this world, and I'd fight my way out. That's all I want to do, Frankie. I just don't want to fight you to do it. I got what I needed. I got it all. Don't let 'em keep taking it away from me. Don't let me lie here 'til I can't hear those people chanting no more.

And here we have it: Maggie's right-to-die argument. Her plea to Frankie is heartbreaking, but it's all about respect. She earned it, and she doesn't want to watch it get chipped away and spend her life being pitied.

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