The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary


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 9 Summary & Analysis

This student, who hates writing, is excited by Ms. Gruwell’s homework, in which each student has to draw their neighborhood. However, s/he explains that s/he hates his own neighborhood, which is full of drug dealers, gang members, racial tension, and constant violence. S/he feels that s/he cannot hope for anything in life, because every opportunity seems so out of reach. Instead of engaging in violent activities, s/he chooses to tag walls. Even when s/he is at school, s/he writes and paints on walls, since neither the teachers nor her/his parents ever seem to truly want to help her/him or motivate her/him to succeed. Tagging, unlike school, gives this student an opportunity for self-expression, as s/he feels pride in what s/he has created.
While still engaging in an illegal activity, this student decides to express her/his frustration in non-violent ways. Violence affects her/him in the same way it affects gang members and victims, as it robs her/him of all hope, making her/him believe that life is an eternal cycle of violence and war. The student’s isolation is emphasized by a lack of adult support and role models. Nevertheless, her/his yearning to be heard and seen is evident in her/his tagging, demonstrating a desire for people to pay more attention to her/his artistic self.
Education and Healing Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon