Grief and Loss in Film “Freedom Writers” Analysis

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Freedom Writers is a movie about a teacher named Erin Gruwell who changes the lives of a group of diverse high school students. As a new teacher, Mrs. Gruwell struggles to connect with her class of misfits and struggling learners. However, she begins to understand her students’ life stories and meets them where they are. The movie also explores the concepts of grief and loss, as the students have experienced significant losses in their lives. Loss is defined as being without something one has valued, and it can be physical or psychosocial. Grief is the emotion that follows loss and includes sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt, and despair. The movie shows how Mrs. Gruwell’s understanding of her students’ losses helps her connect with them and ultimately helps them find success.

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The movie “Freedom Writers” depicts how a teacher named Erin Gruwell is able to make a positive impact on the education and lives of a diverse group of students in a high school. Despite being inexperienced, Mrs. Gruwell faces challenges in helping her class, which is considered as misfits and incapable of learning. However, as she learns about the students’ personal stories and backgrounds, she is able to connect with them as an educator and adapt her teaching methods to their individual needs. Additionally, she recognizes their potential outside of the classroom and guides their learning accordingly.

Intertwining the characters of the movie are the concepts of grief and loss. In order to gain a clinical perspective on how the students in Mrs. Gruwell’s class move towards success, one must understand their journey towards a level of restitution. Grief and loss as a concept of this non fictional story is best understood through: a definitive knowledge of grief and loss, the losses experienced by the characters, and the interventions that are applicable to persons experiencing loss. When one thinks of grief and loss one usually thinks about losing a loved one.

It is crucial for clinicians to broaden their comprehension of grief and loss. Loss, which comes before grief, pertains to the lack or absence of something that was once valued and possessed. This encompasses instances of separation (Simos, 1979, p. 1). Although cultural influences may mold our perception of loss, it is a universal encounter that every individual will undergo. Loss is an inevitable aspect of human existence. When individuals undergo change, they are inevitably going to experience some form of loss and subsequent grief (Goldsworthy, 2005, p. 169).

According to Goldsworthy (2005), there are two types of loss: physical and psychosocial. Physical loss refers to something that can be seen or proven, such as death, the loss of a body part, or stolen belongings. On the other hand, psychosocial loss is intangible and symbolic in nature (Goldsworthy, 2005, p. 169). Furthermore, Goldsworthy (2005) states that grief is the emotional response to loss and involves various painful emotions like sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt,and despair (Goldsworthy, 2005,p. 169). While sadness and despair are commonly experienced during grief,GoldsWorthy(2005) also emphasizes that the dynamics of loss can lead to physical disorder(p.3).

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