Freedom Writers

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Possible answers for Six Step Analysis of Freedom Writers exposed 1. List all the different examples of belonging evident in the text: The students are clearly identified as belonging to an ethnic group, based on colour, race and ethnicity, e.g. the Cambodians, the Latinos, the African Americans and the ‘whites’. They also identify themselves as being gang members and belonging to the gang, including having territory and ‘protecting your own’. The majority of the students live in an area called the ‘projects’ and belong to the area of Longbeach. As students, they belong to Woodrow Wilson High School and by being placed in Miss Gruwell’s class they identify themselves as belonging to the ‘dumb’ class. Then, as the movie progresses, the students clearly see themselves as belonging to Miss Gruwell, the class and the classroom Room 203. 2. Choose three interesting, possibly contrasting examples of belonging / not belonging, not all from the same category.
For each example, build up a set of notes in response to these questions: a. Describe the person and the other person or group or society or place or the world as depicted in the text. b. Describe the connection between the person and the other person or group or society or place or world in terms of belonging. c. How does the person’s context influence his/her experience and sense of belonging (or lack of it)? d. What other factors impinge on the person’s experience and sense of belonging (or lack of it)? e. How do the person’s experience and sense of belonging (or lack of it) affect his/her self-concept and world-view? f. Do the experience and sense of belonging change through the course of the text? If so, explain why. At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Eva and given an understanding of what it is to belong to the Latino group. We hear it from her perspective and see both the danger and the security that comes from belonging to a gang. Eva’s father is well-respected in the Latino world. However, he is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit when a member of a rival gang/ethnic group identifies him as the perpetrator. Eva’s father taught her to fight and to be proud to be Latino. He taught her to always ‘take care of her own’. Eva’s father’s experience influences the family, and particularly Eva, into believing that it is more important to support your fellow gang members than to tell the truth or see justice done. It is all about the victories of the gang and not about the ‘right’ or ‘moral’ act. When Eva witnesses one of her gang members commit murder, she is encouraged to blame it on an African American boy who was also there at the scene, rather than tell the truth. She is told to protect her own and to blame the rival gang. After all, that is what happened to her father, and it is time for them to win a victory. At first Eva is willing to do this, but as time goes on and she begins to belong more consciously and willingly to Miss Gruwell’s class, she realises that to blame someone else is not the right thing to do. The lessons she is learning in Erin Gruwell’s class are now causing an internal conflict for her as she struggles to work out what to do in court. By the end of the movie, Eva makes the decision to do the ‘right’ thing rather than to blindly ‘protect her own’, and identifies her fellow gang-member as the murderer. Her life is then in danger from the gang she belongs to, but she belongs now even more firmly to Miss Gruwell’s class, and believes that she can make a difference and have a life better than the one she has led thus far. Initially, her sense of belonging only extended as far as her family, her gang and her ethnic group. Ultimately, her sense of belonging expanded to include those members of her class and Miss Gruwell, and the learning that took place changed her self-concept and her world view. Example 2 -

When Erin Gruwell arrives for class on the first day, it is...
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