The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell and her students show many great examples of the vast importance of tolerance. This novel is about one teacher who taught her students tolerance and knowledge. This novel even shares how to support tolerance and diversity. Tolerance is important to have in this world because without tolerance, there can be no peace The Freedom Writers Diary shows how the students learn tolerance. In Diary 36, the student writes “’Why should I read books about people that don’t look like me? People that I don’t even know and that I’m not going to understand because they don’t understand me? I thought I was a smart-ass for asking her this question.
I thought to myself, ‘She’s not going to give me an answer because this time I am right. ’ She looked up and said very calmly, ‘How can you say that? You haven’t even bothered to open the front cover. Try it, you never know. The book may come to life before your very eyes’” (71). This quote shows how immediately this teenager wanted to judge this book. She didn’t even know what it was about. This same diary entry states in the next paragraph, “To my surprise, I proved myself wrong because the book indeed came to life.
At the end of the book, I was so angry that Anne died, because as she was dying, a part of me was dying with her” (71). What this quote is saying is that this teenager read an amazing book about WWII and she didn’t want to read it when she first saw it. After reading this book, the writer learns more about the Holocaust and realizes the similarities she has with Anne Frank. Erin Gruwell is the educator who pushed this teenager to read this book and is responsible for this class. Mrs. Gruwell pushes a crowd of gangsters, thieves, and misfit students to become different and change the world.
In her first Diary entry, she writes “I immediately threw out my meticulously planned lessons and made tolerance the core of my curriculum. From that moment on, I would try to bring history to life by using new books, inviting guest speakers, and going on field trips” (3). The teacher changed her entire lesson plan in order to focus on bringing her students together. She not only wanted to teach, but she also wanted to fight segregation and change the world. A student is impacted in by Mrs. Gruwell in such a way that she does the right thing instead of the expected thing.
She writes “And for the first time in my life, the image of my mother made me believe that I could change the way things were. Because at that moment I locked eyes with Paco and said ‘Paco did it. Paco shot the guy! ” (66). The diary entry is primarily about her friend killing someone, and the wrong person getting accused. She saw the event and now has to testify, but is unsure whether or not she should tell the truth, or lie to protect her friend. Because of her memories and her mother’s words, she told the truth. The teachers can teach about the correlation of tolerance and peace.
Tolerance helps to promote peace in many ways. In Diary 18, a student writes, “Brown, black, white, yellow, and all in between, nevertheless human. So why is it we don’t care about the contour of a peanut, but would kill over the color of a man? ” (38). This realization has made the writer no longer racist. This promotes peace because now he definitely won’t join a gang. Another example is in Diary 32, which states “As the weeks went by, I slowly changed my ways. I didn’t want the younger ones to look up to me when I was a loser. I had done so much to hurt my community and now it was time to do something to help it” (63).
This was the outlook of a new gang leader after his two best friends died. He has decided to help his community rather than hurt it. These examples are only a small taste of the rest of the book. There are plenty more examples of tolerance in this novel. In conclusion, this book is just one more thing that has and will continue to change the world. It is important to have tolerance in this world because there is no peace without tolerance. Knowledge affects tolerance in many ways. Teachers and parents play a big role in teaching children tolerance. Tolerance can promote peace. Without tolerance, all that is left is hatred.