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 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This student has also just recently attended a friend’s funeral. This event makes her/him realize that s/he needs to recruit more “soldiers” into the gang. A good recruit, s/he explains, should be willing to sacrifice their life to defend the barrio. S/he calls this kind of life a wild, crazy life in which all gang members are bound to kill or get killed, since leaving the gang is not an option.
Once again, this student uses the metaphor of war to describe life in a gang. People are not seen as individuals but as soldiers fighting for their side in a larger, ill-defined conflict.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
The student compares “jumping” (i.e., gang recruitment) to baptism: the act of giving one’s life to receive a new one. All new members, regardless of gender, receive a violent beating to prove that they are not weak and can be part of the gang. The student recalls being “jumped” and ending up in the hospital for three weeks. S/he concludes that this pain, along with all the life-or-death risks that one takes as part of a gang, is undoubtedly worth it.
Gang members must learn not only to inflict harm, but also to tolerate harm upon themselves. This inevitably normalizes violence, making it an ordinary part of life and of growing up. Pain and violence are seen as a means to an end, but this end remains vague and undefined—suggesting that perhaps there is no real goal besides the propagation of violence itself.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon