The Diary of Anne Frank: Free Study Guide - Free BookNotes/Analysis|
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FREE NOTES: THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
In spite of the misery that she often feels because of the way she is treated by her mother, her sister, and Mrs. van Daan. Anne tries to make the best of it. She says, “You only really get to know people when you’ve had a jolly good row with them. Then and then only can you judge their true characters.” She also feels thankful that Mrs. van Daan is not her mother.
In contrast to her feelings about her mother and sister, Anne feels that “Daddy is a darling.” Otto Frank does, indeed, prove that he is caring, resourceful, and wise. He serves as the peacemaker of the group, “pouring oil on troubled waters.” He keeps Anne, Margot, and Peter engaged in studying, reading, and making family trees. He also tries to comfort Anne.
Beginning with the entries dated September 28, Anne writes detailed and matter-of-fact accounts of everything the family does and every problem it faces under the confined circumstances of their lives. In the entry on September 29, she even gives a description of how, where, and when each member takes a bath. She also talks about the unhygienic conditions and their being forced to use a glass jar as a toilet bowl until they can find a plumber they can trust with their secret. Another time they cannot speak a single word, move about, or bathe for three days for fear of being detected.
Anne also writes about good things. She tells of Mrs. van Daan’s birthday party, one of the few celebrations that are given in the annex. She also tells about how she and Margot receive sack-like skirts that cost 24 florins each, three times more than pre-war prices. Additionally, Anne reveals that she and her sister will soon begin a correspondence course for short hand.
Very few of the entries in “Kitty” mention life outside the annex or the fate of other Jews in Amsterdam. The family only receives selected news from Miep, Elli, Koophuis, and Kraler, their “Dutch protectors;” the worst information about the fate of Jewish people is always kept from them. Then Mr. and Mrs. Frank only share a small portion of what they learn with their daughters, for they do not want to make them worried or afraid.
On October 9, Anne does reveal that she knows about Jewish imprisonments. She writes about Westerbork, a Jewish camp where thousands of her race are brought in large cattle trucks by the Gestapo. She states, “Westerbork sounds terrible. . .Men, women and children all sleep together. One hears of frightful immorality because of this; and a lot of the women, and even the girls who stay there any length of time, are expecting babies.”
She also acknowledges that it is impossible for the Jews to escape and that many of them are murdered, usually by gassing. Anne, always trying to find something positive in the negative, states that at least a gas chamber is a quick way to die.
One night Miep and Henk come to the secret annex and stay for the night. Anne is excited to have company; it is a change from the monotonous routine. She relates a sad tale told by Miep. An old, crippled Jewess, terrified by all the shooting, was sitting at her doorstep simply waiting for the Gestapo to take her away to the crematorium. The family also learns how prisoners are lined up against a wall and shot dead. The next day the Germans say their deaths were “fatal accidents.” After the Franks hear stories such as these, they are silent and filled with a sense of helplessness and dread. They acknowledge that the Nazis are horrendous enemies and wonder if it is hopeless to hope against hope for their own safety.
Anne tells of two frightening experiences. The occupants of the annex are not warned that some workmen are coming to check the fire extinguishers. Upon hearing outsiders, they fear that they have been discovered and that the intruders are Nazis. Even after they discover the truth and know they are safe, Anne shakes with fear for almost two hours. A second frightful experience is when Otto Frank becomes very ill. No medical help can be called, for it would be too dangerous. Mrs. Frank tells her daughters to pray for their father’s recovery. The prayers are answered.
Anne’s problems with Margot and her mother constantly fluctuate. In one entry she writes that “Mummy, Margot, and I are as thick as thieves again.” She even tells how she and her sister share their diaries and talk about their appearance. Later, her feelings again change and she complains, “Mummy and her failings are something I find harder to bear than anything else. . . . I have in my mind’s eye an image of what a perfect mother and wife should be. . .and I find no trace of that image [in her]. . . Sometimes I believe that God wants to try me. . . and I must become good through my own efforts, without examples and without good advice.” Anne is also certain that her mother loves Margot best, for Anne believes her sister is more beautiful, intelligent, and talented than she is, even though she claims that she is not jealous of her. As a result of her feelings about her mother and sister, Anne continues to turn to her father for comfort. She states, “I cling to Daddy because it is only through him that I am able to retain the remnant of family feeling.” She also admits that she longs for his love, “not only as his child, but for me - Anne, myself.”
Within these entries in the diary, Anne does much soul-searching and
self-criticism. She always sees faults in herself and wants to find ways
to be a better person. She writes, “Every day I try to improve myself,
again and again.” She also admits that she is fed up with living in the
cramped quarters with no escape. It is not surprising that she often cries
herself to sleep at night. She is, however, at least thankful to have
her diary, for she feels she can write her deepest thoughts within its
pages; she even personifies the diary as her friend and confidante.
This section of entries shows the emotional side of Anne. Like a typical teenage girls, there are disagreements with her mother and sister. Anne, believing that Margot is more beautiful and talented, feels certain that Mrs. Frank loves her sister best. She also finds her anxious mother to be critical and demanding. As a result, Anne sometimes questions her self worth. Fortunately, she can turn to her caring father for support.
The cramped quarters of the annex have also begun to bother Anne. She talks of her lack of privacy and the unsanitary conditions they sometimes have to endure. She is uncomfortable when she must witness an argument between Mr. and Mrs. van Daan and feels sorry for Peter, who is troubled by the fighting. She also hates the dull routine and the fact that she can never go outside. At least Mr. Frank is resourceful enough to come up with lessons for the children to study and to send away for a correspondence course so that Anne and Margot can learn shorthand. There are also other small delights to break the monotony, like the overnight visit of Miep and Henk, the birthday celebration for Mrs. van Daan, and the receipt of a new skirt.
By these entries, Anne also reveals that she has begun to worry about
the safety of her family and herself. One time some workmen come to the
annex to make repairs, and the family is frightened that they have been
discovered by the Nazis. Anne admits that she is so scared that she shakes
for two hours. She has also heard the horrible stories of the concentration
camps, the gas chambers, and the firing squads. She wonders if the plight
of the family is hopeless. It is not wonder that she often cries herself
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. 09 May 2017