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 VI: Diary 84 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At the Holocaust museum, this student is reminded of being beaten by a group of older boys who attacked her and yelled racial slurs at her, simply for having the wrong skin color. After being viciously attacked, she loses consciousness and, when she comes back to her senses, walks back home alone. On the way, no one offers to help her.
The student’s experience with racial violence allows her to understand the normalcy of the violence and hatred that defined World War II. In the war, as in her neighborhood, people do not offer to help her—perhaps out of fear or disinterest—in the same way that Jews could be arrested and killed without provoking public indignation.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
When she reaches home, she goes to sleep on her bed but wakes up suddenly, smelling something burning. She opens the door to her house and sees a group of people clad in white robes, burning a cross on her aunt’s lawn. She tries closing and opening her eyes to get rid of this nightmare, but soon realizes it is nothing other than reality. She notices that these are the same people who beat her earlier, returning, this time, to harass her emotionally.
This image of a cross burning, typical of the KKK, reveals that racial hatred can be perpetuated over time, as history seems to repeat itself generation after generation. The nightmarish quality of this scene emphasizes the absurdity of the KKK’s beliefs and actions, as their gratuitous hatred is impossible to understand rationally.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
When a classmate wakes her up from this reverie, she realizes that everything is tied together: the Jews, her own experience, and the graffiti they saw earlier. She concludes that some things never change.
This student realizes that whatever the division might be—between Jews and non-Jews, blacks and non-blacks, etc.—humans will always find reasons to hate and hurt each other, however illogical this hatred might seem.
Themes
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon