young boy of color sitting at a desk with an open notebook on it

The Freedom Writers Diary

by Erin Gruwell

Start Free Trial

What does the peanut symbolize in diaries #17 and #18 of The Freedom Writers Diary?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the 1999 non-fiction book, The Freedom Writers Diary, the student-author of Diary 17 remembers a time when she was bullied by a group of girls on the bus on account of her weight. The girl remembers this on occasion of their teacher facilitating a "Peanut Game," in which the students were invited to come up with verbal descriptions of peanuts from the outside and inside, comparing the two. The teacher admonishes her students: "Don't judge a peanut by it's shell, judge it by what's inside of it," (Diary 17). This lesson not only brings to mind for the student the haunting memories of the taunting she endured in junior high (which included physical assault), but also invites the student to understand that, despite her appearance, she shares her humanity with all others. In this way, the peanut is a metaphor for the body.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial