The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary

by

Erin Gruwell

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Freedom Writers Diary can help.

The Freedom Writers Diary: Part I: Diary 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This student recounts being attacked on her/his first day, right after school, by a group of five people. While s/he is not scared, since s/he is used to this kind of violence, s/he expresses her irritation at her probation officer’s decision to make her/him go to school. S/he compares school to the city and the city to prison, all of which obey strict racial divisions. Each racial group defends its territory. S/he explains that this is why, when the Asians started infiltrating certain parts of the Latino neighborhood, the Asians were bound to face violent consequences.
This student explains that the racial and ethnic divisions at school are not mere cultural divisions but, rather, separations established according to gang membership—divisions, then, that can determine one’s very safety and survival. This student obeys—and expects others to obey—a simple law of retaliation, according to which any provocation should be violently punished.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
Related Quotes
When the students are about to beat her/him, she asserts, in a gesture of defiance, that her barrio (neighborhood) is the most important thing of all. S/he notes that, ironically, her Asian enemies dress and try to act just like her/him and her/his fellow Latinos. S/he declares a war on all Asians, concluding that the only thing that matters in life is one’s appearance, which can get one beaten or killed. In this fight for power and territory, there is no mercy. Ultimately, the Asians will be brutally defeated.
The comparison between the Asian and Latino mode of acting and dressing suggests that, despite their different appearances, they share similar goals, experiences, and methods. In other words, they are more similar than they realize. Once again, the student advocates a strategy of violence and revenge, according to which one group must be crushed for the other to survive and thrive.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon