The most significant theme in The Freedom Writers Diary is tolerance and understanding. Gruwell's students hated one another for no reason other than they thought they were supposed to because of gang histories and stereotypes. Gruwell taught them that they actually had more in common than they wanted to believe. Many of the students had lost a friend or loved one to senseless violence. Many of them had been abused or molested. Many of them were victims of substance abuse. Because the education system had deemed them "at risk," Gruwell's colleagues were unwilling to devote the time, energy, and attention to the students that would foster a positive, safe environment for them to not only tolerate their differences but to accept and even appreciate them. Enter Erin Gruwell, an idealistic young teacher who was not willing to take no for an answer from students, parents, or administrators.
What The Freedom Writers Diary teaches readers is how empowerment can change lives. Once Gruwell convinced her students of their self-worth, they began to see their potential. The students felt empowered to take academic and intellectual risks in the classroom; the first 150 Freedom Writers all graduated from high school and many went on to attend college when most believed that they would not make it through even the ninth grade. Perhaps more important, they felt empowered to befriend those whom they had previously dismissed as "the enemy." Additionally, they were empowered to believe that they could be successful; for many of Gruwell's students, she was the first person in their lives who had believed that they had potential.
The importance of self-worth is yet another significant theme in The Freedom Writers Diary. Because so few of Gruwell's students had ever had someone believe in them, half of her battle was showing the students that they were not only capable but were worthy of receiving a good education. She showed them that they...
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Freedom Writers Essay
733 WordsDec 29th, 20123 Pages
Freedom Writers Essay
In the movie, The Freedom Writers Mrs. Erin Gruwell (Hillary Swank) plays a role of a dedicated teacher who did all she could, to help her students learn to respect themselves and each other. She has little idea of what she's getting into when she volunteers to be an English teacher at a newly integrated high school in Long Beach, California. Her students were divided along racial lines and had few aspirations beyond basic survival. Mrs. Gruwell was faced with a big challenge when a group of freshmen students showed her nothing but disrespect which made it hard for her to communicate, teach and understand them. However, Erin Gruwell was determined that no matter the cost she would teach her students not only…show more content…
They were stories of broken and dysfunctional homes, being kicked out of the house for being part of a gang, to being beaten up just because they were different. Reading these journals Mrs. “G” realized how similar each student’s stories were no matter the race, ethnicity or gender. Even though the students did not see eye to eye, they all had many things in common: they were all in gangs; they each had their own stories to tell; each student has dealt with the shooting of a friend, each student want to communicate to others, and each student wanted to be respected.
Upon realizing all of the similarities between each student, Mrs. “G” then began to strive for her students to realize this too, so she comes up with a “line game” for the students. She places a line on the floor with tape and the students walk to the line when the question that Mrs. “G” asks applies to them. At first she asks silly questions like “How many of you have the new Snoop Dogg album?” or “How many of you have seen Boyz n the hood?” but as the game goes on she begins to ask more serious questions like “How many of you have lost a friend to gang violence?” when every single student steps up to the line for each question they begin to realize that beneath their race their ethnicity and affiliation to a gang, that as teenagers they are a lot alike, with many of the same experiences.
As the year goes on the students realize more and more how similar