What does the "power of the pen" mean in Erin Gruwell's The Freedom Writers Diary?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Erin Gruwell's The Freedom Writers Diary uses the power of the pen to illustrate the power of the written word. At the same time, the pen is used as an instrument which allows students to notate (through journaling and diaries) their own experiences with prejudice, race wars, gang violence, and abuse.

Gruwell chose novels, plays, and other texts which mirror the lives of her students. Given that the texts illustrated situations the students could relate to, Gruwell's use of the journal and diary gave students power over their learning and lives. The power of the pen refers to the voice, strength, and pride the pen gave to the students Gruwel taught. Given that these students were the trouble students and others had given up on them, the progress they made was surprising to many. 

Greuwell's class gave them the power, through writing, to express their own ideas without fear. The power of the pen has been named as one of the most powerful weapons (the other is the sword), and Gruwell's class proved this.


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lcoka | eNotes Newbie

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Thanks so much for taking the time to explain!