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 III: Diary 34 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This student feels disappointed in herself, explaining that while everyone, including Ms. Gruwell, sees her as a good student, she knows that she is unable to change her bad behavior—unlike everybody else in class who, since the “Toast for Change,” has been changing for the better. She explains that she is a secret alcoholic, unable to tell anyone about her drinking problem or to stop drinking, out of fear that people will not like her when she’s sober.
This student’s idealized view of everyone’s change in the class highlights her sense of isolation, but also demonstrates her feeling of being accountable to an entity greater than her: her teacher and the entire class. Despite her fear of telling people, she is already writing about it in her diary, therefore demonstrating her desire to at least acknowledge her problem.
Themes
Education and Healing Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
She describes her day, during which she pours vodka in her orange juice. She chews gum to keep anyone from noticing that she is drunk, and neither Ms. G nor her best friend notice. One day, she almost drowned in the swimming pool because she was drunk. When Ms. G’s class started reading books about change, she felt guilty and hypocritical. She compares her situation to that of Anne Frank, except that she is the one hurting herself. She wonders if she will ever manage to be free.
Unlike other students’ interactions with violence in the street, this student’s violence is oriented toward her own self. Her ability to find parallel stories in the literary world and to compare her experience to others might make her feel bad, but it nevertheless forces her to address the complexity and danger of her problem, which might well constitute the first step in trying to solve it.
Themes
Education and Healing Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon