The importance of self-worth to Ms. Gruwell's students can be seen in how they use her content to formulate emotionally strong positions about the world and their place in it.
Ms. Gruwell understands her students' profound deficit of self-worth. She recognizes that years of being overlooked and maligned both educationally and socially have prevented them from recognizing meaning in themselves and their world. This is clear when Erin notes how "it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you tell kids they're stupid--directly or indirectly--sooner or later they start to believe it.” Ms. Gruwell recognizes that connecting content to the experiences of her students can increase their self-worth, evident in her students' thoughts, words, and actions.
Tommy Johnson's diary entry displays self-worth. His opening sentence insists that he is better than the violence dominating his world. When Tommy writes, "They say America is the 'Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,'...
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