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.
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The Freedom Writers Diary: Part II: Diary 16 Summary & Analysis

When this student reads about Juliet killing herself for Romeo, she realizes that she would never do the same for her own boyfriend. She compares her story to Juliet’s. Both she and Juliet had to hide their relationships from their parents. However, her own parents soon found her with her boyfriend. While her mother felt ashamed, her father was angry and punched her in the eye. She was violently dragged away from her boyfriend’s house and told never to see him again.
The parents’ reaction to what they perceive as their daughter’s misbehavior is violent. Instead of trying to understand her point of view and reason with her so that she might understand theirs, they use force to punish her, thereby failing to solve the root of the problem—similar to the situation in Romeo and Juliet, where strict prohibition led to the characters’ deaths.
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Her parents made her change schools so that she would be farther away from him. When they discovered that she was still seeing him, they told her that, if she wanted to be with him, she had to wait until she was fifteen (the traditional age of maturity in her culture). Both she and her boyfriend decided to wait and stop seeing each other. In the end, she realizes that her parents were right, since she feels that she didn’t even really know her boyfriend well.
This time, the parents use a cultural argument that the student can understand in order to modify her behavior. This method is infinitely more successful, as the student decides to stop seeing her boyfriend and, in retrospect, realizes that it was the right decision. This anecdote suggests that honest conversation is often more powerful than blind punishment.
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