1. Eva’s view of herself and her people is that their nationality is competing with other races because of the discrimination. When Eva is a child, she is taught by her father that she has to fight for her people. “An Aztec princess is chosen for her blood, to fight for her people, as Papi and his father fought, against those who say we are less than they are, who say we are not equal in beauty and in blessings”.
2. According to Eva her father is arrested for retaliation, he was innocent but was jailed anyway, because of the respect he had from his people. Eva was waiting for the bus on her first day of school when she witnessed the war between races for the first time. “They took my father for retaliation. He was innocent, but they took him, because he was respected by my people. They called my people a gang because we fight for our America”.
3. The reason that Erin Gruwell decided to teach instead of be a lawyer is because of the influence from her father, being part of the civil rights movement and watching the L.A. riots on TV. Thinking of going to law school but thought that the case is already lost if it reaches the courtroom which indicates that Ms. G believes that going to the beginning where she can educate her students on the fundamentals and essentially prevent them from ending up with a lost court case because a good prevention method has no need for a cure. “And I remember when I was watching the LA riots on TV, I was thinking of going to law school at the time. And I thought, God, by the time you’re defending a kid in a courtroom the battle’s already lost. I think the real fighting should happen here in the classroom.”
4. In the beginning, obstacles that Ms. G faced are that the students didn’t believe in her, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to last in the classroom or teach because of the difficult interracial battles between students. “I give this bitch a week.” Erin had to deal with two students fighting on the first day of teaching, and witnessing another between different tribes within the school. Along with the discouragement from her father. “You’re gonna waste your talents on people who don’t give a damn about education. It breaks my heart”.
5. With gang violence and racial tension reaching an all-time high, the racial situation in Long Beach was separated into tribes based on the races of each person because of the L.A. riots. “Total civil unrest is happening throughout the Los Angeles area.” “The city resembles a war zone.”
6. At first, the students of room 203 relate to one another because of the similar situations and issues that each have experienced. Another way the students can relate to one another are the difficult moments of their individual lives they have to face because they’re all trying to cope with the cards they have been dealt in life. Also with discriminating against other races. Most of the students in room 203 are of different race to the teachers of Woodrow Wilson high school and feel separate from the community. “You can’t go against your own people, your own blood.” 7. A character that I like is Jamal because he seems like he is a funny person and entertaining to be around, making jokes out of negative situations. I can relate to him because I am a student myself. Having to complete unnecessary tasks when there are more important activities that I can be doing.
8. Ms. G tried to engage the students by finding something she thought they would be interested in and using it to relate to them with 2pac rapper lyrics with poetry as an example of an internal rhyme. The students are bothered by this, “Think we don’t know 2Pac? -White girl gonna teach us about rap”. She mixed up the separate boarders in the classroom to engage the students with differentiation without separate races but fails because of the lack of interest and students stop attending.
9. Reasons that the students do not respect Ms G are because of the racial situation at Long Beach, they think that she is just another white person analogous the rest of the teachers that have never really put any effort into actually teaching or caring about their education and don’t try understand their situations. The students are used to never being a priority in the education system, constantly being looked down on as not being smart enough or trusted with the schools proper resources and recognized as people who don’t want to learn and basically never having the opportunity to become anything other than the stereotypes they have been categorised into. So Ms G. wasn’t seen as an individual, she was seen as another teacher that didn’t care. “Lady, stop acting like you’re trying to understand our situation”. They think she doesn’t deserve the respect given from them because she hasn’t earned it. “I’m not just gonna give you my respect because you’re called a teacher.”
10. Eva hates white people because of negative experiences she has had with white police. “I know what you can do. I saw white cops shoot my friend in the back for reaching into his pocket, his pocket! I saw white cops come into my house and take my father away for no REASON except they feel like it! Except because they can! And they can, because they’re white”. She feels that white people demand respect without earning it. “You don’t know what we got to do. You got no respect for how we living”. White people always wanting their respect like they deserve it for free”. Eva thinks that all white people feel that they have authority over her ethnicity, that whites run the world no matter what resulting in Eva hating all white people on sight.
11. Erin’s husband is a very considerate and devoted husband but shows resentment towards her career after assimilating extra jobs to support her teaching career without consulting him. He doesn’t appear to want to talk about her job and when he does, he doesn’t show any support toward it. While not paying attention to Scott, his attitude toward Erin’s career is that he feels that she is getting too involved as a result, letting their marriage suffer. “Scott, I finally found what I’m supposed to be doing and I love it. When I’m helping these kids make sense of their lives, everything about my life makes sense to me. How often does a person get that?” “Then what do you need me for?” “You’re my husband, why can’t you stand by me and be a part of that the way wives support husbands?” “Because I can’t be your wife.” And their marriage results in divorce because his life with Erin wasn’t how he wanted it to be.
12. Ms G. again attempts to peak an interest with the students by using topics that relate to them with non-curriculum books about lives similar to their own that she has bought herself for the students.
13. When Ms G. finds he picture of Jamal she confronts them, belittling their gang actions. “You think you know all about gangs? You’re amateurs”. Ms G informs the students about discrimination, bringing up the holocaust and how using racist pictures and antics is a way of wrongfully blaming others for their lives being hard to give themselves pride and identity.
14. The holocaust is relative to the students because they’re all associated or associate with gang violence and annihilation of people for the satisfaction of being the prime race.
15. The philosophy of the students is that they believe that the world is all about what colour someone is, not who they are. The students make illegitimate judgements about people of different ethnicity to themselves. To the students, graduation isn’t perceived as a concern when more important factors have to be dealt with. To them, making it through another day is an achievement alone, “Lady, I’m lucky if I make it to 18. We in a war. We’re graduating every day we live, because we ain’t afraid to die protecting our own. At least when you die for your own, you die with respect, you die a warrior”.
16. Within society, the students see themselves just as others perceive them. That being not as real graduates, as people who are going to be like their parents, as people who won’t really ever amount to much. No one has ever really taken them seriously which has resulted in the students not taking themselves seriously. “Nobody cares what I do. Why should I bother coming to school?”
17. The activity that united the students was learning about the holocaust, reading the books, hearing the stories of the victims and the excursion to the holocaust exhibition really spoke to students on a personal level that they could all connect and relate too. The main reason all the students are uniting for once is because of Ms Gruwell. Students know she goes above and beyond for them and that she actually cares. “My crazy English teacher from last year is the only person that made me think of hope. Talking with friends about last year’s English and our trips, I began to feel better. I receive my schedule and the first teacher is Mrs. Gruwell in Room 203. I walk into the room and feel as though all the problems in life are not so important anymore. I am home.” Ms. G’s teaching is the activity that first started to unite the students.
18. The scene with Sindy and Eva shows that Ms. G’s class has united the students and created a bond between the two making them look beyond their own races. Ms. G’s students are starting to do right within society and not just right for their own race. For example, “I am my father’s daughter, and when they call me to testify, I will protect my own no matter what.” instead of Eva doing that which is what her family wanted her to do, she told the truth so an innocent man didn’t end up in jail. Eva thought about her actions and the consequences they would have on everyone and she did the right thing. This scene goes to prove that Ms Gruwell’s teaching initiative is working.
19. Marcus’ diary entry struck me most because it’s so unfair that human beings are judged by other human beings by their skin colour when it shouldn’t be considered as a negative factor because underneath it all we’re all the same. When Clive, accidentally shot himself and he stayed by his side until the police came the assumption shouldn’t have automatically been that Marcus did it because he was black, it was so unfair especially when Marcus lost his best friend that day. Marcus’ story moved me the most because he is still searching for his freedom after being wrongfully locked up. If Marcus had never been blamed for Clive’s death and had never gone behind bars, his life could’ve been different. “Every day I worry, when will I be free?”
20. At the beginning of Freedom Writers Ms. G was full of doubts and was questioning whether she was going to be able to connect with her students, get them to listen to her, to attend every class and whether she would be a good teacher or not, but throughout the movie she earned respect, grew and was taught so much from her students and by the end of the movie she had transformed a classroom full of racial boarders and hate into a non-judgemental, safe place where the students found hope, connected with one another and felt at home. She had found what she was supposed to do with her life.
21. In the beginning, the students of room 203 were resistant to Erin, especially Eva who hated all white people and blamed them for taking her dad away when she was 5. They were disrespectful, extremely racist and mean toward one another to the point where Ben was scared to be in the classroom. None of the teachers cared about the students or their education. They were seen as lost causes which only made them feel like lost causes, especially Jamal who thought school was a waste of time. With the guidance of Ms.
G every student in the class made a transformation for the better. Eva overcame her prejudice against white people and discovered they aren’t all the same; a lot of the racial barriers were broken down within the class. All the students attitude toward their education and each other changed, they developed respect and started caring and wanting to learn. Room 203 was transformed into an accepting, tolerant, secure, place like a home where all students, especially Ben, stopped being terrified.
22. All it takes is feeling as though you have one person in your life that genuinely cares about you, supports and encourages you and takes the time to help you and is behind you every step of the way to have the power to achieve anything and everything in life regardless how many people are against you. Every raindrop raises the sea so hope must never be lost. The most significant lesson to learn from this movie is that no matter what your background may be or how different you might think you are from someone, you’re not because at the end of the day we’re all human beings and we should never forget that.
23. The students of room 203 aren’t similar to the students of our classroom because I don’t think that anyone in my class has to face the sought of problems that the students of room 203 had to. Those kinds of difficulties come from gang violence, drug or alcohol abuse or physical injustice, I don’t know everyone’s story but I don’t think that our classroom has to deal with those struggles.
Courtney from Study Moose
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