Ms. Gruwell makes her class play the “Peanut Game,” in which students have to describe the differences between the inside and the outside of a peanut. This student feels that this exercise relates to her own feelings about her weight. She remembers being called fat by other students, and even being viciously hit on the bus by a group of girls yelling insults at her. She did not understand why her friends didn’t help her. When she got off the bus, the girls spat at her from the window. She felt hurt and disgusted.
This student recalls being violently attacked and humiliated for the way she looks. The episode she recounts demonstrates the force of peer pressure, which makes everyone so desperate to fit in that they do not take the measures necessary to defend what is right—such as, in this case, helping out a friend who is being hurt.
After the peanut game, she realizes that one cannot judge a peanut by its shell. In the same way, she feels that her own humanity connects her to everybody else, so that what other people say about her appearance ultimately doesn’t matter.
This student finds comfort in the thought of her own similarity to everyone else, despite appearances—an important thought that will appear time and again throughout Ms. Gruwell’s teaching.