The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary

by

Erin Gruwell

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The Diary of Anne Frank Symbol Analysis

The Diary of Anne Frank Symbol Icon

The moment when Ms. Gruwell’s students read Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl (also known as The Diary of Anne Frank) constitutes a turning point in their lives. As they learn about the intense ethnic hatred and brutal war this young girl experienced, they come to identify with Anne Frank, given their own knowledge of gang rivalry and racial tension. Ultimately, like her, they realize that violence is never a solution to one’s problems. Instead, they begin to believe in the importance of loving and respecting people regardless of their racial or ethnic identity, and to trust in the power of the written word to effect personal and social change. Frank’s diary teaches the Freedom Writers the importance of emotion and subjective experience in education, such that engaging directly with other people, writing first-person diary entries of their own, and showing their own vulnerabilities becomes a crucial part of the Freedom Writers’ classroom experience. In this way, the diary becomes a symbol for the Freedom Writers’ hope and dedication to writing in the face of violence and injustice.

The Diary of Anne Frank Quotes in The Freedom Writers Diary

The The Freedom Writers Diary quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Diary of Anne Frank. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Broadway Books edition of The Freedom Writers Diary published in 2009.
Part I: Entry 1: Ms. Gruwell Quotes

I asked, “How many of you have heard of the Holocaust?” Not a single person raised his hand. Then I asked, “How many of you have been shot at?” Nearly every hand went up. I immediately decided to throw out my meticulously planned lessons and make tolerance the core of my curriculum. From that moment on, I would try to bring history to life by using new books, inviting guest speakers, and going on field trips.

Related Characters: Erin Gruwell (speaker), Sharaud
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 2-3
Explanation and Analysis:
Part IV: Diary 43 Quotes

“Do not let Anne’s death be in vain,” Miep said, using her words to bring it all together. Miep wanted us to keep Anne’s message alive, it was up to us to remember it. Miep and Ms. Gruwell had had the same purpose all along. They wanted us to seize the moment. Ms. Gruwell wanted us to realize that we could change the way things were, and Miep wanted to take Anne’s message and share it with the world.

Related Characters: The Freedom Writers (speaker), Erin Gruwell, Miep Gies
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Part IV: Diary 47 Quotes

I have always been taught to be proud of being Latina, proud of being Mexican, and I was. I was probably more proud of being a “label” than of being a human being, that’s the way most of us were taught. Since the day we enter this world we were a label, a number, a statistic, that’s just the way it is. Now if you ask me what race I am, like Zlata, I’ll simply say, “I’m a human being.”

Related Characters: The Freedom Writers (speaker), Zlata Filipović
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Part IV: Diary 48 Quotes

When Zlata wrote about Bosnian children becoming the “soldiers” and the soldiers becoming “children,” at first I didn’t get her meaning. After hearing Tony’s story, I understood. In war the innocence of a child is lost, and though the soldiers fee I theirs is a worthy cause, they behave like children when trying to achieve their goals. Knowing that a grown man entered a child’s bedroom stealing his innocence makes me sad.

Related Characters: The Freedom Writers (speaker), Zlata Filipović, Tony
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 95-96
Explanation and Analysis:
Entry 6: Ms. Gruwell Quotes

Zlata said writing was her salvation during the war and it kept her sane. She suggested that writing might be one of the best vehicles for some of my students to escape their horrific environments and personal demons. Even though they’re not held captive in an attic or dodging bombs in a basement, the violence permeating the streets is just as frightening—and just as real.

Related Characters: Erin Gruwell (speaker), Zlata Filipović
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:
Part VI: Diary 69 Quotes

Besides gang violence, domestic violence or spousal abuse is common. So common, in fact, that people ignore it, turn the other cheek, or go back to bed. I have watched men pistol-whip their girlfriends or smash their heads through car windows. Damn! I have seen a lot of crazy stuff. Stuff that makes me thankful it’s not me. It’s easier for me to pretend I don’t live where I live or see what I see. […] Writing about my pain will only make it worse.

Related Characters: The Freedom Writers (speaker), Erin Gruwell
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Part VIII: Diary 136 Quotes

“I know why the caged bird sings.” For many people this might sound like a normal poem, but to me it’s an analogy of my life. I sometimes feel as if I am a bird without wings and the door on my cage is not open. A bird doesn’t sing because it’s happy, it sings because it’s not free.

Related Characters: The Freedom Writers (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

Although I’m not an expert on the subject, I’ve always felt that all kids yearn to rebel. Understanding this rebellious nature, I encouraged the Freedom Writers to use a pen as a means of revolution. Through their writing, they discovered they shared a common identity, which united them into a community that connected them, not separated them from the world. Unfortunately, the young men in Columbine didn’t share a community like the Freedom Writers. Instead, they were alone and on the fringe. Their cries for help fell on deaf ears. And rather than picking up a pen and finding a solution, they turned to guns and bombs instead.

Related Characters: Erin Gruwell (speaker), The Freedom Writers
Related Symbols: The Diary of Anne Frank
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Freedom Writers Diary LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Freedom Writers Diary PDF

The Diary of Anne Frank Symbol Timeline in The Freedom Writers Diary

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Diary of Anne Frank appears in The Freedom Writers Diary. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part VIII: Diary 117
Race, Ethnicity, and Tolerance Theme Icon
Education and Healing Theme Icon
Violence, War, and Death  Theme Icon
...receiving. That evening, they become emotional again when they go see a play based on The Diary of Anne Frank . The student realizes that she is contributing to making Anne Frank live after her... (full context)