Response Assignment

Freshman:  600, error-free words in response to the following questions.  
can pick and choose which questions to answer as long as you meet the work requirement.



Why do the students initially only trust peers from their own

ethnic/racial groups? How does Ms. Gruwell earn the respect of her students? How

do the students finally come to respect one another? How does respect work,

anyway -- how can you tell when someone does or does not respect you? Why is trust

such an important component of a teacher-student relationship?



How does Ms. Gruwell manage to get the students to show tolerance

for one another? Her father was a civil rights worker when Erin was growing up; how

might that have affected her feelings on tolerance? Make sure your essay includes

discussion of the racial caricature that Ms. Gruwell confiscated, and the impact that

it had on the entire outcome of the story.



Ms. Gruwell's students endure many hardships in

their personal lives: physical violence and/or emotional abuse, substance abuse,

poverty, homelessness, gang violence, and deaths of family and friends. Ms. Gruwell

herself must endure a lack of support from her colleagues and supervisors. What

were some other roadblocks to Ms. Gruwell's success at first? How does courage and

perseverance apply to these situations?



Many of the students have difficult issues to deal with in

their families. Eva's father was in prison because of loyalty to the gang, and she had

to testify in court on a case similar to the one that sent her dad away. Marcus was

kicked out of his house when he joined a gang. One boy tells the class that he has no

other family, just them. Comment on all these situations and how they are resolved.



What caused the break-up of their marriage?

What might they have done in order to save their relationship? What would YOU try

to do if you were in this situation?



How do you see stereotypes in this film?



Describe how writing in journals helps transform the lives of

the students. How does writing "free" the students from their pain? Do you or have

you ever kept a journal or diary? If so, do (did) you write about events, emotions, or

both? Was it a good experience, helpful for you?



Why are the students filled with such anger at the beginning of the story? Do

you think their anger is justified?



What are some of the inequalities among students and classrooms at

Wilson High School?


How do some of the major characters change from the beginning to the

end of the story? Why did they change? What was one important event that made a

difference? Consider these characters: Erin Gruwell, Scott Gruwell, Eva, Marcus (the

boy who went back to his mother's home), Ben (the white boy), and any others.



What part do you think is the most important part of the story? What

makes it important? What would the movie be like if that part didn't happen?



What did you learn about Anne Frank from watching this movie? Why

did the students make such an important connection to the diary of Anne Frank?