The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary


Erin Gruwell

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Tommy Jefferson Character Analysis

Ms. Gruwell compares her student Tommy to Sharaud, as both are disciplinary transfers who change dramatically during the course of their four years of high school and become committed to achieving academic success. Tommy becomes a voracious reader and writes Zlata a letter in which he compares his own circumstances to hers, saying that he has to suffer through an undeclared war, filled with gang violence and the deaths of his friends. He describes this situation as a state of non-freedom.

Tommy Jefferson Quotes in The Freedom Writers Diary

The The Freedom Writers Diary quotes below are all either spoken by Tommy Jefferson or refer to Tommy Jefferson. 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:
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Letter to Zlata Quotes

They say America is the “Land of the Free and Home of the

Brave,” but what’s so free about a land where people get killed? […] I am a fifteen-year-old teenage boy whose life seems to be similar to yours. In your diary you said you watched out for snipers and gunshots. I watch out for gangsters and gunshots. Your friends died of gunshots and my friend Richard, who was fifteen, and my cousin Matthew, who was nineteen, also died of gunshots. The strange thing is . . . my country is not in a war. (Or is it?)

Related Characters: Tommy Jefferson (speaker), Zlata Filipović
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
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Tommy Jefferson Character Timeline in The Freedom Writers Diary

The timeline below shows where the character Tommy Jefferson appears in The Freedom Writers Diary. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Letter to Zlata
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
Student Tommy Jefferson’s letter to Zlata begins by stating that, despite the United States’ pretension to freedom,... (full context)
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
Tommy describes the pain he feels at having seen two close friends die senseless deaths and... (full context)
Entry 4: Ms. Gruwell
Education and Healing Theme Icon
Family and Home Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
...the startling process of change that her students have undergone since the “Toast for Change.” Tommy, in particular, has impressed her by reading all the assigned books. Before then, like Sharaud,... (full context)