Writ'It ! Literary Analysis

On the discovery of “Freedom Writers”

19 juillet 2020

Freedom Writers
Freedom Writers

Whether it’s the dramatic movie (“Freedom Writers”) or the book (“The Freedom Writers Diary”), I couldn’t help but let tears fall down on my laptop. Not that the story itself is too sorrowful, but once you get the deep message the authors want you to catch, you will be able to do nothing but question yourself in your strong inner self. Why ? How ? How may you be able to change the world, or at least a certain group of people ?

Well, let me introduce you to them…

Write for existence

The actual french version of the movie is named “Écrire Pour Exister”. We are in Los Angeles, after the starting point of the California race riots (April 29th, 1992). The story is about a new, fresh professor at a Woodrow Wilson High School from Long Beach, at Los Angeles. This is one of the hottest districts on the West Coast in the aftermath of the riots. In Mrs Erin Gruwell classroom, students are grouped, tables and chairs turned toward each other (instead of facing the board) according to their belonging to a certain gang or racial clan, ready to clash at every turn. Ambiance in the classroom is getting worse, despite Mrs Gruwell sincere efforts and determination to take over this situation.

However, the students are going to open a real dialogue with her, when a racist cartoon of a black boy passes hand to hand in the classroom until it reaches the concerned boy. From that day on, she changed her teaching strategies. With tact and humor, she succeeded in creating a good classroom climate, and step by step, the students became attached to her and to one another. The Shoah (Holocaust) tragedy and Resistance during the Second World War were the declic, and with reportages, school outings, visits to museum, movies, testimonies of former survivors of the Shoah, the students were fascinated, and somehow found their identities. Those students became more confident, they knew their teacher respected them and their pains.

Instead of inspiring admiration and support from the school authorities and the other schools professors, Mrs Erin Gruwell faced jealousy, hatred, harassment, hostility, particularly from Mrs Margaret Campbell, the High School assistant principal. However, she had the permission to follow her students from their First year to the Fourth, and she even had the opportunity to follow some of them at California State University, Long Beach. She was the one who motivated them to write about themselves, their families, everything that crosses their minds every single day, and this was how “The Freedom Writers Diary” was born.

Main developed themes

We are going to develop here 2 main discussed themes in the works : Violence, and Teacher’s implications in the classroom.

  • Violence
Regardless to what has happened in the past, violence is still a hot topic. Toward a particular skin colour, toward people from a certain area, toward one or two persons whose heads we do not like or that do not please us. Violence generated by prejudices, or by intolerance. We are all human. WE ARE ALL HUMAN ! We are brothers. We have to learn and tolerate each other regardless of skin colour, of wealth, of social position, of intelligence (that’s another debate), of … Whatever it is, let’s remember violence is not a solution to any problem. You cannot judge somebody on first contact, or at first sight. You do not have the right to judge somebody basing on gossips, without knowing the person and all the story around him/her. You are not God to decide to revenge, violence creates more harm than peace. Tolerance helps you run away from violence. Being tolerant help you know and remember that
Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum
Errare humanum est… Error is human, mistake is human. Each of us has defaults, we are not perfect to ask our vis-a-vis to be perfect. At the same time, Perseverare diabolicum is a call to our own conscience. We have to know where to put a stop to our bad habits or attitudes.

  • Teacher’s implications
Let’s take a look at Mrs Gruwell. She decided to sacrifice herself for her students, to help them achieve their objective (graduating High School), to teach them tolerance to others, to give them a good educational basis. Even after her husband left her because of her new job in which she was all in, she didn’t give up and let go but she continue fighting for her students, fighting to save them from a darky future, fighting for them to open their eyes and see how unity can lead them be great. Great in heart, great in mind, just great people she fighted to construct. Isn’t it beautiful ? How many teachers do you know like her ?
Teachers and teachers-to-be have to keep in mind that creating a good climate in their classrooms will never be a lost of time. We have to be aware of the relationship between a teacher and his/her students. It is important to know them, where they come from, how is life at home, how they manage.
Ooookkk you’re right, in Benin context it’s almost impossible, we have more than 40 students in a classroom, and at least 3 classrooms to deal with. But self-dedication will help you catch up the realities your students come with in class, and manage them in order to achieve your final goals with them.

Another implication is the importance of school outings, and teaching techniques (qualified as “empirical methods” by Mrs Campbell...). Most of the teaching in Benin republic is more theoretical than practical. Are we going to let it go, or shall we bring a change ? It’s proved that students learn more when they feel (no, I prefer fingertip) the reality. If we want to increase our student’s level, we have to use those so-called empirical methods, that will for sure help them A LOT.

Last implication, consider your students. Do not underestimate their abilities, their capacities. By the way, it is the job of the teacher to reveal his/her students’ potentials, right ? So we should ask them to react on problems ACCORDING TO THEIR LEVEL, not under it.

I strongly recommend you to read “The Freedom Writers Diary” along with the movie “Freedom Writers”.

PS : It is a real story, I mean Mrs Erin Gruwell has existed, her students of Room 203 also, all this story is taken from a true story.

How do you find it ? Please tell us.
Are you interested in reading the novel ? Don't hesitate, just contact us to get the free PDF (if you can't find it on the net).

Big hugs, #KhashHmv 

Partager :

0 commentaires
Commenter avec