Coming back to the narrative in the film, in what is a subtle playing out of the politics and economics of gender, Erin Gruwell’s husband presses for divorce, for he thinks that his wife spends far too much time on her career. The underlying assumption here is that women are expected to fulfill they familial role first before devoting time for their careers. On the contrary, if a man would be workaholic, it is not objected to. This sort of patriarchal mentality is a big factor in why women are lagging behind men in the workplace. In other words, “Kevin, a computer technician, divorced her after four years of marriage, telling her he was not prepared to be “her wife”, and protesting that she was crazy because she was “taking a job to pay for her job”.” (Pimentel, 2010, p.51) The defiant tendency in Erin Gruwell, to place her career on par with that of her family life, illustrates her modern feminist thinking. I much admire and appreciate Erin’s bold and purposeful pursuit of career.
Another facet of Erin Gruwell’s story that captured my attention was her ability to adapt her career skills according to the circumstances. For example, when she first arrived in Wilson High and upon making her initial assessments of the students, she realized that not only was she a good teacher, but also a good student. Hence, she says,
“I took their stories seriously and gave them respect, and we learned from each other. The day my freedom writers graduated from high school I felt like a mother with 150 children. For many of them, it was the first time anyone in their family had finished high school. I was so proud; I thought my chest would burst. The following year, 1999, Erin left Woodrow Wilson high school to set up a foundation. She also published the student diaries in a book, The Freedom Writers Diary – How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them, which went to number one on the US bestseller list. She and the students were lauded, appearing on Oprah Winfrey and Good Morning America, and she even addressed Congress.” (as quoted in Cohen, 2007, p.4)
“Full Marks for Erin; Take 150 ‘No-Hope’ Students, Add One Inspirational Teacher Then Watch Them All Graduate- Meet the Amazing Erin Gruwell Report Lina das Main Photograph Kelly Laduke.” The Mail on Sunday (London, England) 15 Apr. 2007: 43.
“How Real Heroes Tamed the Teenage Gangsters; in the Wake of Three Gang Murders in South London, a New Film Tells of a Teacher Who Transformed the Lives of 150 Young Rejects by Introducing Them to Holocaust Survivors.” The Evening Standard (London, England) 5 Mar. 2007: 18.
Pimentel, Charise. “Critical Race Talk in Teacher Education through Movie Analysis: from Stand and Deliver to Freedom Writers.” Multicultural Education Spring 2010: 51+.
“‘Writers’ Tells Familiar Story; Swank Inspires as Teacher;film Makes Job Look Easy.” The Washington Times 5 Jan. 2007: D04.