Thoughts on Freedom Writers (the movie)

In this week’s (January 22, 2007) Newsweek, “The Last Word” columnist Anna Quindlen discusses some underlying themes of the new movie Freedom Writers and wonders how society lost a therapy that “[made] pain tolerable, confusion clearer and the self stronger.” She doesn’t go so far as to call letter writing an art (though I would), but she does suggest that the beginning of the end of writing and “everyday prose” might be traced to the end of the era of letter writing. The rest of her column provides a glimpse into the importance of writing our individual stories, our memories and experiences, our personal histories: “Think of all those people inside the World Trade Center saying goodbye by phone. If only, in the blizzard of paper that followed the collapse of the buildings, a letter had fallen from the sky for every family member and friend, something to hold on to, something to read and reread. Something real.” Yes, if only . . .