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 VII: Diary 111 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
This student describes her sorority’s hazing process. She finds herself watching the most popular boys at school yell sexual insults at the freshmen girls and tell them to touch their balls. This student remembers her own process of joining the sorority. Out of sheer luck, she was able to avoid many of the pledge nights, where the freshmen girls were forced to sing to the senior boys’ exposed genitals, sit on the boys’ laps, and kiss them. At the time, she hadn’t realized how humiliating and degrading this entire process was.
Now older than she was when she first entered the sorority, this student is able to adopt a critical attitude toward her own group, and realizes that much of what is normalized within the sorority is nothing other than sexual violence, aimed at making girls submit to the boys’ orders. She realizes that the pledging process inspires in her discomfort and disgust.
Themes
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
Now that she is supposedly “popular” and watches the process herself, she sees the violence and contempt with which the boys treat the girls, without any interference on the part of the sorority girls. This student doesn’t understand why she did not stand up to this injustice, which she calls a torture. As a Freedom Writer, she feels ashamed to have let this happen. She decides to leave the sorority. She concludes that the concept of popularity is meaningless and that she does not want to be part of a group that actively humiliates other people.
The pledging process involves violence not only on the boys’ part, but also on the part of the sorority members, whose lack of intervention makes indifference to harm and humiliation seem like a normal attitude. This student realizes that such behavior is, in fact, immoral and unfair. At the same time, her own inability to react at the moment that the pledge is taking place reveals the difficulty of standing up to injustice—and to an entire group of people—alone.
Themes
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon