The Blind Side

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Michael Oher Character Analysis

Michael Oher is the protagonist of The Blind Side, and a real-life NFL star, who’s played offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, the Tennessee Titans, and the Carolina Panthers. Growing up in inner-city Memphis, Michael was extremely poor, and his mother, Denise, was a crack addict who barely took care of him. The Blind Side begins when Michael is a sad, lonely teenager, but with the help of his de facto guardian, Big Tony, Michael enrolls in Briarcrest Christian Academy, where he attracts the attention of the wealthy Tuohy family. With the Tuohys’ support and encouragement, Michael becomes one of the most talented high school football players in Tennessee, if not America, leading his team to statewide victory in his senior. In addition to studying Michael’s rise to prominence in the world of football, The Blind Side is the story of Michael’s coming of age. When he first meets the Tuohys, he is shy, quiet, and isolated. Though he continues to face racism and feel like an outsider throughout the book, Michael does gradually learn to fit in with his adopted family, to do well enough in school to go to college, and to form friendships and loving relationships with other people.

Michael Oher Quotes in The Blind Side

The The Blind Side quotes below are all either spoken by Michael Oher or refer to Michael Oher. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Generosity Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of The Blind Side published in 2007.
Chapter 3 Quotes

His name was Michael Oher, but everyone just called him “Big Mike.” Tony liked Big Mike, but he also could see that Big Mike was heading at warp speed toward a bad end. He’d just finished the ninth grade at a public school, but Tony very much doubted he’d be returning for the tenth. He seldom attended classes, and showed no talent or interest in school. “Big Mike was going to drop out,” said Big Tony. “And if he dropped out, he’d be like all his friends who dropped out: dead, in jail, or on the street selling drugs, just waiting to be dead or in jail.”

Related Characters: Tony Henderson / Big Tony (speaker), Michael Oher
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Three, we’re introduced to Michael Oher, the protagonist of the book. Michael is a young teenager, living in the impoverished inner-city of Memphis, Tennessee. Although Michael doesn’t spend much time with his biological parents (and, in fact, has never met his biological father), a man named Big Tony takes care of him sometimes, largely out of concern that, without the right influences, Michael will end up involved in selling drugs or other criminal activities to which many people turn as a way of surviving.

The passage is important not only because it paints a bleak picture of life in American inner-cities (where crime and drug selling are often the only realistic way for young people to make a good living for themselves), but because it’s one of the only passages about Big Tony, the man who arranges for Michael Oher to attend Briarcrest Christian Academy, setting in motion the events of the book. The Blind Side—both the book and the Hollywood film adaptation—has been criticized for perpetuating the “white savior complex,” the trope in which heroic white characters (in this case, the Tuohy family) reach out to help a struggling non-white character (here, Michael Oher), when, so the argument goes, there should be more books and films about non-white people taking care of themselves, helping one another, and solving their own problems. The fact that Big Tony, in spite of his importance to Michael Oher’s success in life, plays a minimal role in the book could be interpreted as evidence for the white savior complex in The Blind Side—the book marginalizes the help that inner-city people give each other, and instead focuses on the help that wealthy white people give to black inner-city youths.

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But Mr. Simpson was new to the school, and this great football coach, Hugh Freeze, had phoned Simpson’s boss, the school president, a football fan, and made his pitch: This wasn’t a thing you did for the Briarcrest football team, Freeze had said, this was a thing you did because it was right! Briarcrest was this kid’s last chance! The president in turn had phoned Simpson and told him that if he felt right with it, he could admit the boy.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, Steve Simpson, Hugh Freeze
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Three, we start to get a sense for the enormous importance of football in America, particularly in a Southern state like Tennessee. Millions of Americans watch football every week, and consider football an important part of their lives. Football is more than just entertainment on television: it represents a way for communities to celebrate themselves. For example, one could argue that when two high schools play a game of football with one another, they’re each fighting for their school’s honor and reputation.

Because football is so important in Memphis, Tennessee, it influences seemingly unrelated aspects of life, such as the educational system. Ordinarily, Michael Oher would have little to no chance of attending a school like Briarcrest, partly because he’s black and Briarcrest is a de facto white school, and partly because his grades and IQ scores are poor. However, Briarcrest admits Michael in large part because the school president loves football and wants Michael to play for the Briarcrest team.

By the time [Sean] met Big Mike, he had a new unofficial title: Life Guidance counselor to whatever black athlete stumbled into the Briarcrest Christian School. The black kids reminded him, in a funny way, of himself.

Sean knew what it meant to be the poor kid in a private school, because he’d been one himself.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, Sean Tuohy
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Sean Tuohy is the first person in the Tuohy family to take notice of Michael Oher, and in this passage, we begin to get a sense for why. Tuohy notices that Michael Oher is lonely, and has little in common with his Briarcrest peers—most of the students at Briarcrest, an elite private school, are white and come from wealthy families. Tuohy sympathizes with the feeling of being an outsider in a rich community, because he grew up very poor, and was almost always the poorest kid in his school. Even at the University of Mississippi, where Tuohy played basketball, Tuohy felt like an outsider because he could only afford to attend school on a sports scholarship, meaning that playing basketball was essentially a job for him, not a fun activity. In all, Tuohy is sympathetic to young people who are poorer than their peers, and who feel like outsiders. In the city of Memphis, where there is an enormous (and morally disgraceful) gap between the average wealth of white and black people, and where black people are often treated like second-class citizens, this in effect means that Tuohy is especially sympathetic to black people. Sean’s sense of a personal connection with Michael Oher thus leads him to befriend Michael, pay for his lunches, and, eventually, adopt Michael as his own son.

By the time Michael Oher arrived at Briarcrest, Leigh Anne Tuohy didn’t see anything odd or even awkward in taking him in hand. This boy was new; he had no clothes; he had no warm place to stay over Thanksgiving Break. For Lord’s sake, he was walking to school in the snow in shorts, when school was out of session, on the off-chance he could get into the gym and keep warm. Of course she took him out and bought him some clothes. It struck others as perhaps a bit aggressively philanthropic; for Leigh Anne, clothing a child was just what you did if you had the resources. She had done this sort of thing before, and would do it again. “God gives people money to see how you’re going to handle it,” she said. And she intended to prove she knew how to handle it.

Related Characters: Leigh Anne Tuohy (speaker), Michael Oher
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Leigh Anne helps Michael Oher to a degree that many other people would find strange. After seeing that he’s an impoverished, lonely student, Leigh Anne buys Michael clothes and food, and gives him far more love and attention than he’s used to receiving.

A natural question would be, why does Leigh Anne treat Michael so kindly? But in a way, the passage suggests that this is the wrong question—in the sense that it would be wrong to second-guess Leigh Anne’s generosity. Leigh Anne’s peers think that she’s too “aggressively philanthropic,” and later on in the book, the NCAA accuses Leigh Anne of being nice to Michael to ensure that he’d play football for her alma mater. Furthermore, readers of The Blind Side have accused the Tuohys of being condescending toward Michael. While there might be some truth in such an accusation, perhaps it’s not right to immediately assume the worst of Leigh Anne Tuohy. Leigh Anne seems to be a sincere, pious woman, who thinks that, as a prosperous person, it’s her duty to spend her time and money helping others. The better question, indeed, might be why more wealthy people don’t use their money to help those who are less fortunate, particularly as both wealth and poverty are often a matter of luck rather than merit.

Chapter 4 Quotes

They called him names that neither he nor his coach cared to repeat. Harrington wasn’t shocked by more subtle forms of racism away from the basketball court, but it had been a long time since he’d seen the overt version on it. “I don't think there’s a white coach with a black kid on his team, or a black coach with a white kid, who could have any racism in him,” he said. Big Mike responded badly; Harrington hadn’t seen this side of him. He began to throw elbows. Then he stopped on the court, turned on the fans, and gave them the finger.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, John Harrington
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Michael Oher is playing a game of basketball on the Briarcrest team against another high school. During the game, people from the other school call Michael offensive names, including the n-word. In response, Michael becomes much more aggressive on the court, and leads his team to a sweeping victory.

The passage is an important reminder of the racism that black youths like Michael Oher face, both on and off the court—and this won’t be the first time that Michael is belittled for his race. Second, the passage suggests that Michael, in spite of his gentle nature, is capable of becoming more aggressive during sports games. Instead of being humiliated by the audience’s cruelty, Michael adapts to his surroundings and finds a way to use their cruelty to motivate himself to succeed.

Of course, it’s also worth noting how tone-deaf Harrington sounds in his quotation—both in assuming that a black coach’s “racism” against a white player could be equal to a white coach’s racism against a black player, and in thinking that the world of sports is somehow divorced from the racial prejudices of the outside world.

One afternoon the Briarcrest players and coaches looked up and saw the strange sight of Tennessee’s most famous coach, Phil Fulmer, from the University of Tennessee, not walking but running to their practice. If ever there was a body not designed to move at speed it was Fulmer’s.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, Phil Fulmer
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

By the end of Chapter Four, it’s become obvious that Michael Oher is an extraordinary football player—so extraordinary, in fact, that football coaches from Division I colleges travel across the country to watch him practice. Even Phil Fulmer, the most acclaimed coach in the state, goes out of his way to watch Michael, actually running to his practice.

The passage is humorous in its characterization of Fulmer, but also inspiring because it shows how Michael has gone from a lonely young man, who most people in Memphis would ignore or avoid, to an acclaimed athlete, who people travel across the country to watch. The passage is also significant because it foreshadows the long college recruitment process, during which Phil Fulmer, among many other college coaches, will visit Michael and try to convince him to play for their programs.

Chapter 6 Quotes

From his place on the sideline Sean watched in amazement. Hugh had called a running play around the right end, away from Michael’s side. Michael’s job was simply to take the kid who had been jabbering at him and wall him off. Just keep him away from the ball carrier. Instead, he’d fired off the line of scrimmage and gotten fit. Once he had his hands inside the Munford player’s shoulder pads, he lifted him off the ground. It was a perfectly legal block, with unusual consequences. He drove the Munford player straight down the field for 15 yards, then took a hard left, toward the Munford sidelines.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, Sean Tuohy, Hugh Freeze
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Six, Michael Oher plays in a football game against another high school. One of the opposing players is an annoying, bullying teenager, and during a play, Michael simply carries the bully across the field, pushing him all the way back to the sidelines and even over the opposing team’s bench.

The incident with the bully is indicative of both Michael Oher’s dominance in the sport of football, and his overall temperament. Michael is clearly a gifted athlete—he’s so big and strong that he can face off against a heavy football player and essentially lift him all the way down the field. Michael is a gentle, kindhearted young man, but during football games he’s capable of channeling his anger and frustration into some impressive plays, like the one discussed in the passage.

She’d been taking care of his material needs for a good year and a half, and his emotional ones, to the extent he wanted them taken care of, for almost as long. “I love him as if I birthed him,” she said. About the hundredth time someone asked her how she handled his sexual urges, Leigh Anne snapped. “You just need to mind your own business. You worry about your life and I’ll worry about mine,” she’d said. Word must have gotten around because after that no one asked.

Related Characters: Leigh Anne Tuohy (speaker), Michael Oher
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

Leigh Anne plays an increasingly important role in Michael Oher’s life: where before she bought him food and clothing, she now provides him with a home and round-the-clock love and support. However, instead of praising Leigh Anne for her extraordinary generosity, some of Leigh Anne’s friends question the new living situation. They wonder how Leigh Anne can trust Michael Oher around her beautiful teenaged daughter, Collins.

It’s easy to detect a racist side to Leigh Anne’s friends’ question: their confusion seems to reflect the racist trope of the aggressive, hyper-sexual black male. Leigh Anne’s response to her friends’ queries is simply that they should mind their own business instead of meddling in her own. Leigh Anne’s response shows that she respects and trusts Michael, and never believes him to be anything other than a kind, gentle young man.

Chapter 7 Quotes

With that, Sean Junior took off on a surprisingly insistent rap. He explained how important it was for him to be near Michael, and how concerned he was that once Michael committed himself to some big-time college football program, he’d become totally inaccessible. Then came the question: if Michael Oher agreed to play football for Ole Miss, what level of access would be granted to his little brother?

“How about we get you an all-access pass?” said the Ole Miss recruiter.

“That'd be good.”

Related Characters: Sean Tuohy Junior (speaker), Michael Oher
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Seven, Michael begins the lengthy process of being wooed by various Division I colleges. Michael is one of the best football players in Tennessee, if not the country, and Division I schools want him to play football for their teams, bringing honor (and money!) to the program.

In order to stand the best chance of recruiting Michael, savvy football coaches and college recruiters go out of their ways to flatter him. The University of Mississippi recruiter further tries to impress Michael by currying favor with Michael’s beloved little brother, Sean Junior, promising him that he’ll be given a luxurious all-access pass to the University of Mississippi facilities. The lengths to which different coaches and recruiters will go for Michael’s sake illustrate not only Michael’s talents as an athlete, but the central importance of football for many colleges. Football is an important part of campus life at many schools and, quite frankly, a huge source of revenue.

Leigh Anne Tuohy was trying to do for one boy what economists had been trying to do, with little success, for less developed countries for the last fifty years. Kick him out of one growth path and onto another. Jump-start him. She had already satisfied his most basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and health care. He had pouted for three days after she had taken him to get the vaccines he should have had as a child. It was amazing he hadn’t already died some nineteenth-century death from, say, the mumps. (When she tried to get him a flu shot the second year in a row, he said, “You white people are obsessed with that flu shot. You don’t need one every year.”) Now she was moving on to what she interpreted as his cultural deficiencies.

Related Characters: Michael Oher (speaker), Leigh Anne Tuohy
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:

In this ambiguous passage, we learn about how Leigh Anne tries to educate Michael Oher and help him become a mature adult. Leigh Anne believes that it’s her responsibility to help Michael transcend his impoverished background, both by providing for all his material needs, and by helping him learn how to appreciate the finer things in life. As we learn in the rest of the chapter, Leigh Anne takes Michael to nice restaurants and teaches him how to order food and read a wine list. She also takes him to fancy stores and buys him beautiful suits. Michael Lewis compares Leigh Anne’s actions to those of an economist who tries to help a third world country develop into a thriving industrialized nation: both by giving the nation basic material help (providing food and other necessities) and by giving the nation a strong culture.

The passage is exemplary of much that is admirable about Leigh Anne’s approach: her goal is nothing less than to help Michael Oher grow into a mature, respectable adult. However, when it comes to Michael’s “cultural deficiencies,” it could be argued that Leigh Anne is drawing Michael even further away from the realities of the average American’s life than Michael was when he lived an impoverished life in the inner-city. Similarly, one could argue that Leigh Anne isn’t really helping Michael become an independent adult at all—she’s just spoiling him and perpetuating his dependence on her.

Leigh Anne listened to the doctors discuss how bizarrely lucky Sean Junior had been in his collision with the airbag. Then she went back home and relayed the conversation to Michael, who held out his arm. An ugly burn mark ran right down the fearsome length of it. “I stopped it,” he said.

Related Characters: Michael Oher (speaker), Leigh Anne Tuohy, Sean Tuohy Junior
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

In this touching passage, Michael Oher has been in a car accident with Sean Junior, and Sean Junior is covered in blood. It ultimately becomes clear that Sean Junior is fine—although he’s bleeding, he didn’t break any bones or even lose teeth. Indeed, the doctors are surprised that Sean Junior is basically unharmed. Only afterwards does Leigh Anne discover what happened: the reason that Sean Junior wasn’t hurt more seriously is that Michael reached out his hand to protect Sean Junior from the force of the air bag.

Michael Oher is an extraordinarily kind, gentle person, and he feels an instinctive need to protect the people he cares about, even if doing so means hurting himself. Michael’s protective instincts also come in handy during football games: the same instinct that leads him to reach out his hand to protect Sean Junior also helps him to excel at protecting the quarterback during football plays.

Chapter 10 Quotes

Michael beat Antonio around the face and threw him across the room as, around the room, huge football players took cover beneath small desks. That's when a lot of people at once began to scream hysterically and Michael noticed the little white boy on the floor, in a pool of blood. He hadn't seen the little white boy—the three-year-old son of one of the tutors. Who had put the little white boy there? When he’d charged Antonio, the boy somehow had been hit and thrown up against the wall. His head was now bleeding badly. Seeing the body lying in his own blood, Michael ran.

Related Characters: Michael Oher, Antonio Turner
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

In this disturbing scene, Michael Oher gets into a heated argument with his teammate, Antonio Turner. Turner has made some offensive comments about wanting to have sex with Leigh Anne, Michael’s adopted mother, and Collins, Michael’s adopted sister. Michael is so furious that he beats up Antonio in front of a roomful of people—and he also accidentally injures a little boy, the son of one of the football tutors.

Michael’s actions are horrifying and shouldn’t be excused—it’s absolutely wrong for an adult to settle a fight by attacking another adult (let alone hurting a small child in the process). But without forgiving what Michael does, it’s possible to understand his actions. On one hand, Michael is deeply loyal to his adopted family, and doesn’t like it when Antonio speaks ill of them. At the same time, Michael, in spite of his gentle nature, continues to feel uncomfortable and maladjusted at Ole Miss. He’s still an immature, lonely young man, and doesn’t understand how to address his own problems in a civil manner. In times of stress and anxiety, Michael defaults to one of the two strategies he learned as a young boy: fight or run. In the case of Antonio Turner, he does both.

Chapter 11 Quotes

As [Denise] had no income except for whatever the government sent her on the first of each month, the children had no money for provisions. They had no food or clothing, except what they could scrounge from churches and the street. Surprisingly often, given the abundance of public housing in Memphis, they had no shelter. When asked what he recalls of his first six years, Michael said, “Going for days having to drink water to get full. Going to other people’s houses and asking for something to eat. Sleeping outside. The mosquitoes.”

Related Characters: Michael Oher (speaker), Denise Oher
Page Number: 296
Explanation and Analysis:

In Chapter Eleven, we learn more about Michael Oher’s rough childhood living in the Memphis inner-city. Michael’s biological mother, a woman named Denise, wasn’t much of a mother: she was a crack addict, and showed no real affection for Michael or his siblings. Furthermore, Denise didn’t do much to take care of her children, and she spent most of her money on drugs. As a result, Michael Oher had to learn to fend for himself—scrounging for food and desperately hunting for shelter.

The passage sheds new light on Michael’s behavior. In part, Michael was quiet and lonely during his early time at Briarcrest because he simply didn’t fit in with the other students—his life experiences were completely different from those of his classmates. The passage also confirms that Leigh Anne is, in many ways, more of a mother to Michael than Michael’s own biological parent—she provides Michael the emotional support that Michael’s biological mother doesn’t.

Chapter 12 Quotes

And, after a long round of fulsome apologies and ten hours of community service, Michael was restored to his former status of model citizen—and the incident never even hit the campus newspaper. It just went away, the way it would have gone away for some well-to-do white kid. Of course, lessons were learned and points of view exchanged. Coach O, for instance, pulled Michael into his office to discuss The Responsibilities of Being Michael Oher. Rather dramatically, Coach O extracted from his desk a thick folder stuffed with newspaper clippings, and dropped it with a thud. “Dajus da crap dey wrotebout me last sittee days!” he boomed. (That’s just the crap they wrote about me in the last sixty days!) He went on to lecture Michael on the burdens of conspicuous success. “Let me tell you something, son,” he concluded (in translation). “It is lonely at the top.”

Related Characters: Ed Orgeron (speaker), Michael Oher
Page Number: 316
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Michael faces the consequences of beating up another student, and accidentally hurting a child—but the only problem is, there aren’t any real consequences to speak of. Michael does some minimal community service, and that’s that. Michael’s almost total lack of discipline for his actions (and, to be clear, he deserves some kind of punishment for beating up another kid) reflects his new status as an elite football player. If Michael were still living in the inner-city, by contrast, it’s not hard to imagine a racist criminal justice system sentencing him to years in prison for the same offense.

As Lewis describes it, Michael gets a slap on the wrist for his actions, the same punishment that a “well-to-do white kid” would receive. However, Michael’s avoidance of punishment is still unfair and enabling, just as it would be for any “well-to-do white kid.” Consider the way Orgeron excuses Michael’s behavior with the vague advice of “It is lonely at the top”—as if Michael, the guy who beat up his teammate, is the real victim of the incident. College athletic programs have gotten a lot of criticism for producing entitled young men who think the world revolves around them—and with enablers like Orgeron in charge, it’s not hard to see why.

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Michael Oher Character Timeline in The Blind Side

The timeline below shows where the character Michael Oher appears in The Blind Side. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Market for Football Players
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...from aspiring players who want to impress him. The latest tape he’s received is from Michael Oher, who plays for a small private school, Briarcrest, which has no real history of... (full context)
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...walks into the football meeting room at the University of Memphis, and waits to meet Michael Oher—meanwhile, “the ghost of Lawrence Taylor” is waiting. Taylor’s legendary performances in the NFL in... (full context)
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...to protect quarterbacks; thus, left tackles commanded high salaries, too. But Lemming wants to meet Michael Oher in person, because he knows that sometimes videotapes can be deceptive. Furthermore, he recognizes... (full context)
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When he first meets Michael Oher at the University of Memphis, Lemming realizes that Michael is so big he can... (full context)
Chapter 3: Crossing the Line
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Big Tony and Steven lived in a house in west Memphis, where a boy named Michael Oher, nicknamed Big Mike, would sometimes crash. Michael had just finished ninth grade, and Tony... (full context)
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...through school if financial aid doesn’t cover it. Big Tony introduces Freeze to Steven and Michael, and suggests that they might be able to play on the football team. Freeze is... (full context)
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A few days later, Big Tony delivers Steven and Michael’s transcripts to Briarcrest. Steven is a great student, and he’s accepted on scholarship without further... (full context)
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Two months later, Simpson gets a call from Big Tony. Michael, Tony explains, has been trying to study for the home study program, without success. Now,... (full context)
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Michael Oher enrolls in Briarcrest’s special needs program. The teacher, a woman named Jennifer Graves, is... (full context)
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Within a few weeks, several teachers have recommended that Michael leave Briarcrest—he’s clearly not ready for classes. Even in his weightlifting class, he declines to... (full context)
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After school, Michael Oher sits in the stands and watches basketball practice. The basketball coach, Sean Tuohy, notices... (full context)
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One day, during practice, Sean asks Michael Oher what he ate for lunch that day, and asks him if he needs money;... (full context)
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The next day, Leigh Anne picks up Michael from school and takes him to buy a jacket. She’s a remarkable woman, not least... (full context)
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In the store, Leigh Anne quickly realizes that almost nothing fits Michael—he’s too big and tall. As Leigh Anne tries to convince Michael to choose some clothes,... (full context)
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The next day, Leigh Anne devises a way to clothe Michael—get hand-me-downs from NFL athletes—only to learn that nobody in the NFL is as big as... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Blank Slate
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Hugh Freeze can still remember the moment when he realized that Michael Oher wasn’t just big, but also fast: Michael picks up a fifty-pound tackling dummy and... (full context)
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In his first semester, Michael makes straight D’s, though he’s also working with special tutors so that he’ll be able... (full context)
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In early 2003, as a junior, Michael plays defensive tackle in football games. At first, he’s good but not extraordinary—his biggest talent... (full context)
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In spite of his difficulties on the field, Michael Oher is adjusting to his new life, thanks largely to the help of Sean and... (full context)
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A turning point for Michael comes in the winter of 2003. Michael and the rest of the Briarcrest basketball team... (full context)
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...have parents to meet them at the airport. Big Tony’s girlfriend comes to pick up Michael, but Michael refuses to go with her—he tells Coach Harrington that she’d called him a... (full context)
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For the next few months, Michael stays with various teammates’ families. One night, after a track meet, Leigh Anne drives Michael,... (full context)
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Michael Oher sleeps on a futon in the Tuohys’ house (he’s so big he barely fits... (full context)
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Early on in his time living with the Tuohys, Michael is a hoarder. He’s had to survive from day to day for so long that... (full context)
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Sean begins writing letters to Division II coaches, imagining that Michael Oher could play basketball in college. Then, Freeze gets word that a football scout, Tom... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Michael Oher begins playing more football for Briarcrest. His coaches, Hugh Freeze and Tim Long (a... (full context)
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The coaches proceed with some drills. First up is Michael Oher on the board drill—i.e., the drill that involves trying to stay on a board... (full context)
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Michael Oher continues dominating practices, but he remains a mystery. One day, he falls to his... (full context)
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Meanwhile, it’s becoming clear to Michael’s coaches that Michael might have a real future in professional football. Michael isn’t just big—he’s... (full context)
Chapter 5: Death of a Lineman
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The reason Michael Oher was so interesting to college football coaches was that he fit the idea of... (full context)
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...of the quarterback and the “pass game,” Lewis says, was critical to the success of Michael Oher. (full context)
Chapter 6: Inventing Michael
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The year is 2004, the Briarcrest Saints football team is beginning its season, and Michael Oher has spent four months adjusting to the idea that he’s a football star. He’s... (full context)
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While college football coaches fall over themselves to court Michael, Leigh Anne and Sean have doubts about Michael’s football future. Michael is dependent on Leigh... (full context)
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At school, Collins Tuohy, Leigh Anne and Sean’s daughter, notices that Michael is becoming more outgoing—he no longer looks at the floor all the time, and seems... (full context)
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To obtain proof of address, Michael calls his mother in advance, and Leigh Anne drives him to the house where she... (full context)
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While Leigh Anne waits for Michael to take his test, she thinks about the flak she’s gotten from her friends about... (full context)
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Leigh Anne also thinks about Michael’s bad grades: he has a GPA of 1.56, but needs a GPA of 2.65 to... (full context)
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...local high school, and loses. After the game, Leigh Anne encourages Hugh Freeze to play Michael more often, and run the ball left instead of right, since Michael is the number... (full context)
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...Freeze decides to take Long’s advice and run Gap, again and again, making use of Michael. During the game, Briarcrest players score touchdown after touchdown, largely thanks to Michael’s talent. Searles... (full context)
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Even though Michael is critical to his team’s success, he’s oddly underappreciated. Even Hugh Freeze doesn’t realize that... (full context)
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...game between Briarcrest and its rival, Evangelical Christian School (ECS), ECS’s goal is to tackle Michael. The strategy works, and ECS wins. Later in the season, Freeze compensates by stacking the... (full context)
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...championships. In the first game, against Harding Academy, the Harding defensive end tries to tackle Michael, but Michael figures out how to keep the defensive end from tackling his knees, and... (full context)
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...a fullback, and then pretends to be running with the ball. Strangely, during the play, Michael doesn’t move. Later in the game, Michael faces off against a fullback, 165 pounds, named... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pasta Coach
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At the end of 2004, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy become Michael Oher’s legal guardians. They send out a Christmas card including Michael, and it never occurs... (full context)
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As Michael nears the end of high school, he faces great offers from college coaches. Privately, Sean... (full context)
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At the same time that Michael is considering his options for college, he is being tutored by a woman named Sue... (full context)
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Meanwhile, local news stations hang on Michael’s every word for a hint about where he’ll play ball. Michael receives so many calls... (full context)
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Leigh Anne is nervous that, if accepted to an elite football college, Michael won’t be able to cope with the pressure, or with being so far from the... (full context)
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...day, Leigh Anne gets a call from Collins—there’s been an accident. Leigh Anne learns that Michael, while driving Sean Junior out to play basketball, hit another car. She finds Michael in... (full context)
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Shortly after the accident, coaches from three different colleges—LSU, Tennessee, and Mississippi—come to visit Michael in his home. The first coach is Nick Saban, from LSU—a school that Michael considers... (full context)
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...visit and comes to the Tuohy home a few days later—at the exact time when Michael is scheduled to visit Ole Miss. But Fulmer’s bus gets delayed, and he begs the... (full context)
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Later, Fulmer manages to visit Michael at Briarcrest. Fulmer is supposed to be giving a talk at the Tennessee high school... (full context)
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Sean Tuohy, worried that Michael has decided to play for the University of Tennessee, is sorely tempted to intervene in... (full context)
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...Mississippi gets a new head coach, Ed Orgeron. Ed’s first order of business is convincing Michael to play for his college. Orgeron, a “hearty Cajun coach” with a thick accent, visits... (full context)
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On February 1, 2005, Michael Oher holds a press conference about where he’ll go to college. Before a sea of... (full context)
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After the press conference, Michael and Sean Junior play miniature baseball. In Sean Junior’s room, there is a framed bloody... (full context)
Chapter 8: Character Courses
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On March 30, 2005, the NCAA begins a formal investigation into the career of Michael Oher. The investigation is painful for the Tuohys, because of what it implies about their... (full context)
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Thompson asks Michael how he came to live with the Tuohys. He explains that Sean Tuohy understood his... (full context)
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Thompson proceeds with her questioning, and Michael explains that he lived in multiple foster homes as a child; he doesn’t provide many... (full context)
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Michael spends his final semester of high school trying to raise his GPA to a 2.65.... (full context)
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For the rest of the year, Michael enrolls in a program of correspondence courses designed for the learning disabled. He works closely... (full context)
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A month after her first interview, Joyce Thompson returns from the NCAA to talk to Michael again. In a way, Thompson’s job is to investigate the black market surrounding college athletes.... (full context)
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...and stresses that, whatever the NCAA might think, Ole Miss isn’t bribing him to pressure Michael—clearly, he’s too wealthy to be bought. Thompson begins to open up to Sean after this... (full context)
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As Michael approaches the end of high school, he has to find a baby picture—which, traditionally, is... (full context)
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On July 29, Sean sends the results of Michael’s correspondence courses to the NCAA, and shortly afterwards, the NCAA tells Michael that he’ll be... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Egg Bowl
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...by Ole Miss largely because of his rapport with black athletes. Orgeron is interested in Michael from an athletic perspective, but also from a public relations perspective, since Michael lives with... (full context)
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...one occasion that he wants to build his new football team on the back of Michael Oher. He wants Michael to start for Ole Miss, even though he’s just a freshman.... (full context)
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...season, when the players are preparing for their game the next day. By this point, Michael Oher has acquired a swagger—he’s been featured in Sports Illustrated. Coach Orgeron tries to energize... (full context)
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In the past year, Michael has adjusted to his new life in the University of Mississippi. He’s learned that Ole... (full context)
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...hard work. He asks the team to give him just one game of good offense. Michael nods—all season long, he’s been playing right guard. Some of the time, Michael doesn’t know... (full context)
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...can maximize the players potential. The players grow increasingly disorganized and unsure, and DeLeone radios Michael to try harder. But even if Michael’s performance in the game—and during his entire freshman... (full context)
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The day after their loss to Mississippi State, Coach Orgeron moves Michael Oher to play left tackle. Orgeron also uses Michael’s prestige to recruit other great players... (full context)
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In spite of his new success, Michael Oher continues to feel lonely and insecure about his family. He goes to visit Denise,... (full context)
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One day, toward the end of freshman year, Michael clashes with a freshman linebacker named Antonio Turner. Antonio boasts that he’d like to have... (full context)
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...Anne tells Sean what’s happened. Sean is reminded of an incident that happened shortly after Michael left for Ole Miss: Michael had an argument with Sue Mitchell, and left for two... (full context)
Chapter 11: Freak of Nurture
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The chapter begins with an interview about Michael Oher between Joyce Thompson and Sean Tuohy. Thompson asks Sean if he knows much about... (full context)
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When Michael Oher’s mother, Denise, was a young girl, her father was murdered. Her mother was an... (full context)
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...his wife told him she wanted a divorce. In jail, Robert met a man named Michael Jerome Williams; later on, Williams, newly freed, served as a messenger, sending Denise letters from... (full context)
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Michael Oher and his brothers lived in squalor: every month, the government would send Denise a... (full context)
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Even as a young child, Michael Oher wanted to be a basketball star. He’d seen basketball games on TV, and wanted... (full context)
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When he was ten, Michael ran away from Velma Jones; this time, the police took him to a floor of... (full context)
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Michael didn’t have many close emotional relationships in Hurt Village. One exception was a boy named... (full context)
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Around the time that Zachary Bright was turning down his football scholarships, Michael Oher had acquired the nickname “Big Mike.” Michael hated his nickname—his still wanted to be... (full context)
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Shortly after Michael attended the basketball camp, Big Tony’s mother died, and made Tony promise to enroll his... (full context)
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In Michael Oher’s earliest weeks at Briarcrest, he was treated as a “freak of nature.” The other... (full context)
Chapter 12: And Moses Stuttered
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Back in the 2000s, Michael Oher has fled from Ole Miss, and “all hell broke loose.” Antonio Turner, the teammate... (full context)
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Michael Oher drives around Oxford, angry and confused. Recently, the NCAA has been saying that the... (full context)
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...hurt needs stitches, but is otherwise fine. However, the police are still going to arrest Michael Oher. Sean decides that it’s time to call a lawyer. He talks to his old... (full context)
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After hitting Antonio Turner, Michael Oher does some mild community service, but is never prosecuted. He settles into success. Meanwhile,... (full context)
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Even after Michael chooses the University of Mississippi, Phil Fulmer remains obsessed with him. He tries to convince... (full context)
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Leigh Anne continues to spend lots of time with Michael Oher. It often occurs to her that there must be other people just as talented... (full context)
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Due to his success, Michael Oher gets lots of calls from poor friends, many of whom want money. Denise calls... (full context)
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...as the successor to Lawrence Taylor. In 2006, Feeney hears of a talented kid named Michael Oher, who claims that Feeney is no match for him. Feeney later learns that Michael... (full context)