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The Diary of Anne Frank: Free Study Guide - Free BookNotes/Analysis

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THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK: CHAPTER SUMMARY

SUMMARIES WITH NOTES / ANALYSIS

For the ease of discussion, the entries in the diary have been broken into chronological groups.


INTRODUCTION

Written between the years 1942 and 1944, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is the personal diary of a young teenager. It has historical significance because Anne, a Jewish girl forced into hiding, tells of her experiences during the war. Originally written in Dutch, the diary was entitled “Het Achtehius”. In English, the literal translation would be “The House Behind,” which refers to the secret annex of the office building where Anne and her family go into hiding with the van Daans.

Eight people shared the attic rooms: Anne, her mother, her father, her sister (Margot), Mr. and Mrs. van Daan, the van Daan’s son (Peter), and a dentist named Dussel. The intimate diary captures many details about the annex and its occupants. With strong emotion, it also tells about the girl’s fears about the war and the turmoil she undergoes as part of growing up. Additionally, she makes remarkable observations about human nature.


PART I: JUNE 14, 1942 to JULY 9, 1942

Summary

The entries dated from June 14th to July 5th are written in Anne’s home in Amsterdam, Holland, where she spends her last few weeks of freedom under almost normal circumstances. Anne, a fun-loving girl who enjoys life, has just turned thirteen. She writes about the various presents she was given for her birthday. From her father, she received a diary (which was really an autograph book) with a red-checkered cover; this special gift is her favorite present. She has decided to tell about her life in daily entries into the diary, knowing that “paper is more patient than man.” She hopes the diary will become a substitute for having a real friend and will make her feel less lonely; therefore, she calls the diary “Kitty.”

Most of the opening entries give a brief history of Anne’s life. She tells that she was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where she lived until the family moved to Holland to escape from Hitler and the Nazis, who had overtaken Germany. One of the early entries, dated June 20, 1942, explains how the conditions for Jewish people are worsening. With remarkable detachment and a seeming lack of emotion, she jots down the various restrictions put on Jews, including the following:


i) Jews must wear a yellow star to identify them from others.
ii) Jews must hand in their bicycles, which will be given to soldiers and policemen.
iii) Jews must not travel by train and are forbidden to drive.
iv) Jews must shop only in Jewish shops and only from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
v) Jews must stay indoors after 8:00 p.m.
vi) Jews must not visit the theatre, the cinema, or sporting events.
vii) Jews must not visit Christians.
viii) Jews must go to Jewish schools.

In spite of their feelings of uncertainty and fear, Anne and her family try to make the most of their restricted existence. The spunky teenager says that things are bearable, even though she was forced to leave her Dutch school in 1941, when Hitler occupied Holland. Anne also tells about her grief over losing her grandmother in January of 1942. She writes, “No one will ever know how much she is present in my thoughts and how much I love her still”.

Anne goes on to tell about her school, which continues in the entry dated June 21. She admits that she has a very talkative nature and tells about a punishment she received. Her teacher required her to write an essay on being an “incurable chatter box.” But Anne is also a good student. On Sunday morning, July 5, Anne writes how well she has done on her school exams. She claims that her sister, Margot, is the truly brainy one in the family, but Anne is proud of her own grades. Anne also expresses an interest in boys. She specifically talks about Peter Wessel, on whom she seems to have a crush.

Anne also writes about her father. Since Jewish men are no longer allowed to do business, Mr. Frank whiles away his time at home, while his Dutch partners manage the firm. Anne tells how she and her father share a strong bond. Otto Frank trusts his teenage daughter enough to tell her about his plans of taking the family into hiding. The news makes Anne anxious.

Notes

The first entries in the diary tell of the lively existence of a young Jewish girl who has just turned thirteen. She seems to bubble with laughter and a love of life, playing Ping-Pong, participating in pranks, and flirting with young men. Although she seems popular with her school friends and is doted upon by her parents, Anne feels a basic loneliness. Not having a best friend with whom she can share her emotions, she decides to write her thoughts and feeling into her diary, which she names “Kitty.”

Anne is particularly close to her father, Otto Frank. His birthday present to her, the red-checkered diary, is her favorite. He also trusts her enough to tell her about his plans to take the family into hiding. Anne is also close to her sister, Margot, even though she seems a bit jealous of her . She states that Margot is the smart one in the family, and she struggles to do well in school to keep up with her.

In spite of her youth and happiness, Anne cannot ignore what is going on around her. In the previous year (1941), Hitler has occupied Holland. As a result, she had to quit her Dutch school and attend a Jewish one. Additionally, she gives a long list of other restrictions put on the Jews. They cannot ride trains, own bicycles, work in most businesses, attend the theater or movies, or visit with Christians. Additionally, they must wear yellow stars to identify them as Jewish and shop only in Jewish stores between the hours of three and five. Anne finds the restrictions difficult, but she says that life is bearable. It is obvious that this positive young lady tries to make the best of any situation.


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