Ms. Gruwell makes the class read the poem that one of her college friends wrote shortly before he drowned. The poem teaches them that passion can be strong enough to change the world. While this message resonates with this student, s/he and her/his classmates initially feel that they—who have always been looked down upon by the people around them—are not capable of such achievements.
This student feels that the negative, external pressures of her environment are stronger than her positive, internal potential to succeed and impact the world. The poem s/he reads thus remains interesting and powerful, but not convincing enough for her/him to believe in its message.
However, after Miep Gies’s visit, this student realizes that Miep never considered herself a hero, instead insisting that she merely did what she knew was right. When she tells the students to not let Anne Frank’s death be in vain, this student realizes that Miep and Ms. Gruwell are communicating the same idea: that any individual can seize the moment and change the world. This student feels limitless power at the idea that s/he is responsible for Anne Frank’s legacy and that s/he, too, can make the world a better, more tolerant place.
Miep Gies repeats a message similar to the one the student read in the poem, but the fact that this time the message comes from a real person’s experience makes it infinitely more powerful. S/he realizes that one’s passion and moral instinct—one’s sense of what is right and wrong—can truly impact other people’s lives and, even, as the widely known story of Anne Frank demonstrates, the entire world.