Set in Los Angeles during the years following the 1992 riots. Freedom Writers tells the true story of a young English teacher and her influence in the classroom. Erin Gruwell begins the school year as an English teacher for the "at risk " students at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California.
She soon realizes that her diverse group of students is embroiled in the racial gang war culture of the time. Without the positive support of family members or teachers, these students have no expectations of academic success. Each day is a struggle to survive on the streets.
The movie presents some issues as tolerance, finding success, inequality of education, earning respect and trust, overcoming adversity, family relationships...Moreover it has a relation with the Holocaust topic (Ann Frank Story) studied during the first term.
1 At the beginning of the school year, Erin is deeply disturbed by a racial caricature of one of her students that she finds being passed around the room. Why does Erin compare this drawing to the drawings of Jewish men during the Holacaust?
2 Why do you think Erin refers to the Nazis as the most famous gaing in history? Why does this comparison make the students begin to listen to her?
3 How do the classmates learn to trust one another? How does reading and writing initiate this change?
4 Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank, is a hero to Ms. Gruwell´s students. Why?
5 What makes Eva choose to "go against her people" in the courtroom?Do you think this was a good decision? How do her family and friends react?
6 Explain the influence of Miep Gies¨words on Eva´decision?
7 Why is Eva so affected by the ending of Anne Frank´s diary?
8 Put yourself in Eva´s shoes. would you tell the truth in the witness stand or protect your friend?
Research: look for information about gang activity in the mid-1990 in Los Angeles.