Sample English Essay Paper on The Freedom Writers Diary

The Freedom Writers Diary

This essay articulates on a book “The Freedom Writers Diary” by Erin Gruwell and a group of students who were freedom writers. It is about how a teacher and 150 teenagers embraced writing to enhance change among them and create an impact to people around. This diary incorporated journals that were written reflecting issues of the past, present and future.


The purpose of this paper is to depict overall success of the journal in relation to the concepts that we have learned. This concerns various ways that determine success among individuals, and how they handle the internal and external obstacles, legacy and opportunity. The texts will also link its concepts to the major book and reveal how people respond to diversity. 

In this book, writers reveals about an idealistic English teacher aged 23 years old at Wilson high school in California. This teacher Erin Gruwell confronted a room of students who were at risk and difficult to teach (Gruwell 45). On one particular day, she came across a note that had an ugly racial drawing. At that point, she became angry and declared that it was precisely sort of thing that contributed to Jewish Holocaust, because it incorporated uncomprehending appearance. In collaboration with her students, she decided to consider this idea as an eye opener, spirit raising and life changing against the misunderstanding and intolerance.

These writers took the initiative to learn about their lives, and record their feelings and thoughts in honor of the civil rights activists. Visitors such as the Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family declared Erin Gruwell students as heroes. Efforts depicted by these writers have earned them popularity in education and across media such as the People Magazine.   

The following are the three other articles I will use to connect to the main idea that exhibit the perspective of this book. The first text to analyze is “The Significant of Grit” by Deborah Perkins-Gough. The author reveals that individuals who can formulate lasting goals and stick to them tend to be successful in school and life. Based on her theme resilience and learning, she terms resilience as optimisms and giving appraisal to situations without altering them. She further adds that resilience involves thinking about changes that can make one’s life successful (Perkins 85).

According to Gough, resilience is all about positive response to adversity or failure. She further adds that grit determines success beyond and over the talent of an individual.  This implies that when considering people of equal talent, the grittier ones perform better compared to those who are not. Gough depicts grit as not only having resilience in situations of failure but having deep commitment that makes one to be loyal to them over years. According to this article, individuals who are the most successful in life are both gritty and talented in things that they have decided to do. The writer also notes being gifted or talented does not guarantee a person that he will be passionate or hardworking. The author mentions that for young people to be successful, they have to experience a situation for a long time to understand it properly.

The second article to analyze is “Success” by A.S Pearse. Professor Pearse emphasizes that each man desires to become successful in life. This text is connected with ideas in the book “Freedom Writers Diary” when both writers depict determination as a way of becoming successful in life. However, this is a puzzle to majority of individuals who does not have the idea on how to climb the ladder of success. He notes that success is when a person gets what she needs, while happiness is the act of having fulfilled her desires. Pearse adds that success is what people perceive to be worthwhile and is only what makes them to be satisfied with themselves. However, scientists asset that real success is a continual obligation and reward.   The author reveals that where there is lack of competition, there can be no trace of success. According to him, victory is determined by winning a fight, race or context to be in a leading position.

Success applies to everyone and it is a product of effort and intention and not an outcome of luck or chance (Pearse 115). The author also reveals that success does not apply to individuals who claim they have done enough or they are sufficient with what they have. He incorporates different themes to describe success in his work. The first theme concerns plants and animals in which their success is based on their struggle for existence that makes them to be specialized when they are versatile. In his second theme in regard to success, he reveals that the degree of appreciation or capability of living creatures is directly proportional to the amount of struggle which they exhibit. He links lack of struggling as obstacles that hinders individuals to be powerful, generous, appreciate and fulfill their desires. In his third theme on success, he mentions that to be successful, creatures have to continue with the struggle to avoid a situation whereby they depend on others. If they proceed with this habit, they automatically become eliminated from the struggle.

Additionally, the author cites that to attract success, individuals need to cooperate with others. Collaboration is significant because it involves strength and united efforts that results to high degree of attainment. Furthermore, cooperation is an essential feature in social life but it is always associated with lack of chances to bring out full potential in an individual. In his fourth theme on success, Pearse terms cooperation as a vital element but only if it does not incorporate waste of efforts and great sacrifice of individuality. In his fifth theme that relates to success, the writer cites specialization to be an essential aspect. However, he adds that it must not be narrow to allow creatures to embrace new chances and change activities based on conditions. In general, the author terms success as continual development and significant milestone that determines success.

The third item to evaluate that relates with the book is “Don’t! The secret of Self Control” by Jonah Lehrer. This text is linked with concepts in the book “Freedom Writers Diary” when intelligent is revealed in both articles to contribute to success. According to this issue, it depicts children who are capable to pass a marshmallow test to enjoy great success when they become adults. The author reveals experiment done to children whose goal was to identify mental procedures. This tested on whether some individuals delayed gratification while others decided to surrender. In this regard, psychologists have put focus on raw intelligent as the most vital variable when it comes to predicting success in life (Lehrer 62).  

According to Walter Mischel, a character in this article, he asserts that intelligence is an aspect that depends on self control. As a result, this task forces children to identify a way that makes a situation to function in favor of their needs. Mischel further adds that individuals cannot control the world but they can manage their thoughts concerning it. Based on how children responded in this article, it made psychologists to assume that aggression was a stable behavior among them. However, Mischel disputed by claiming that the responses that children made relied on the manner in which they interacted.

In adults, the marsh mallow test situation was recognized as metacognition.  It is a condition that enables individuals to reason critically to outshine their challenges. In such situations, people cannot delay strategies which imply that they only learn how to use their minds the similar way they learn using a computer via trial and error. Mischel also reveals that people should realize that the will power is a matter of learning ways to control thoughts and attention and can be increased.

The fourth text is “Brainology Transforming students motivation to learn” by Carol S Dweck.  This text and book “Freedom Writers Diary” share similar ideas about working harder to achieve goals and be successful. According to research, brains change in a constant manner with learning and experience which happens in our entire life. Mindset is a belief that intelligence can be improved to enable learners to love education. This is certain that constructive and effort power determines reactions to setbacks. The study findings reveal that students who had unsimmilar mind sets cared about various aspects in school. Furthermore, students with growth mindsets depicted a straight forward idea about efforts. This idea motivated them to become successful by working harder, developing, being genius to accomplish their goals (Dweck 126). In contrast, learners with a fixed mind set believed that if they worked hard, they lacked the capability implying things were meant to occur naturally.    


The book ““The Freedom Writers Diary” depicts ideas, feelings and thoughts in honor of the civil rights activists. It is an eye opener, spirit raising and life changing against the misunderstanding and intolerance. This paper incorporates four articles that connect with ideas of the book by revealing about success. From the essay, readers learn that success is when individuals access the things they require to become happy in life.  

Works Cited

Lehrer, Jonah. Don’t! The secret of self-control. The New Yorker May 19, 2009 Issue

Perkins, Deborah. The Significance of Grit. Educational Leadership, September 2013 Issue.

Pearse, A.S. Success. The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Jul., 1926), pp. 46-49Published by:             American Association for the Advancement of ScienceStable URL: .

Dweck, Carol.  Brainology Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn. Mindset. New York:                     Random House.

Gruwell,  Erin. “The Freedom Writers Diary” New York: Cambridge University Press.