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

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FREE STUDY GUIDE: THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

PLOT ANALYSIS - CONFLICTS

Although there is not really a plot in the diary, there is definitely a conflict. Throughout the entries, Anne clearly indicates that there are three battles raging. The biggest and most serious one is the outside conflict of World War II. Anne and her family have had to go into hiding to escape the Nazis, who had invaded Holland and were imprisoning and systematically killing the Jewish people. Throughout her stay in the secret annex, Anne fears being caught and imprisoned by Hitler’s forces. She also endures constant air raids and bombardments and worries that the building in which they are hiding will be hit, causing the occupants in the annex to burn to death.

The second conflict that Anne must endure is living in the cramped quarters of the secret annex for over two years with absolutely no privacy and few supplies. She must even share her small room with Mr. Dussel, an old and irritating Jewish dentist. Life in hiding was tedious and boring. Unable to leave the annex, she had to entertain herself with reading, studying, listening to the radio, and doing chores. A lively and talkative girl, she found that her behavior was irritating to the others, even to her mother and sister. She was often criticized and scolded. She also had to endure the constant bickering of the other occupants of the annex; especially troublesome were the frequent fights between Mr. and Mrs. van Daan. It is no wonder that Anne often cried herself to sleep at night, out of fear and frustration.


The third conflict for Anne was the normal maturing process of an adolescent. Having just turned thirteen when she entered the annex, Anne was a moody and emotional girl, just like most teenagers. She was at the point in her life when she wanted freedom and independence. Instead, she was forced into cramped quarters that provided no escape and no privacy. All of her actions were constantly scrutinized by an overly critical audience of onlookers who openly voiced their disapproval of her behavior. She was always compared to her older sister, Margot, and came up short, for Anne was judged to be less beautiful, talented, and intelligent. It is no wonder that Anne sometimes questioned her own self worth and wondered if death might not be better. It is also not surprising that she constantly fights with her overly anxious and critical mother.

Two things helped to ease Anne’s conflict during her stay in the annex: her ability to write in her diary, which she named “Kitty,” and her friendship with Peter van Daan. She began to think of the diary as a close friend, for she could tell it her deepest thoughts and frustrations. In a similar manner, she learned to confide in Peter and enjoy his companionship. She even states that she often feels happy in his presence and is openly delighted to receive her first kiss from him. Unfortunately, neither Peter nor the diary could save Anne from the real enemy -- the Nazis. In August of 1944, she and the other occupants of the secret annex are seized by the Gestapo and sent to the concentration camps. Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp in 1945.


THEMES - THEME ANALYSIS

The major theme of the diary is the horror of war. Although Anne is hidden away from the fighting in the secret annex, World War II is very real to hear. She has been personally persecuted by the Nazis for being Jewish and is now in hiding because of them. She constantly hears the air raids and the bombardments of the battle and fears for her life. She is also worried about being discovered in the secret annex and sent to a concentration camp. Anne and the other occupants are very aware of the horrors that are happening outside the annex. Their Dutch protectors bring them news from the outside, and they constantly listen to the radio. Anne knows about Hitler’s ruthless advances; she has also heard about the cattle cars, the concentration camps, the gas chambers, the firing squads, and the crematoriums. She wonders throughout the diary if she will live to see the end of the war; unfortunately, she does not.

In contrast to the horror of war is the power of love, which is seen throughout the diary. Mr. Frank, a caring and sensitive man, deeply loves his family and tries to protect them. He also tries to make life more bearable for Anne and Margot by giving them books to read and lessons to study. In addition, he serves as a peacemaker, trying to make things in the annex more pleasant for everyone. Love is also expressed in the care and concern that people show for one another. Without hesitation and with love, Mr. Frank welcomes the van Daans and Mr. Dussel into the already cramped quarters of the annex. He knows that saving another Jew is the most loving thing he can do. In a similar loving way, Koophuis and Kraler risk their own lives to protect the occupants of the annex, without a thought to their own safety. Romantic love is also seen as an antidote to misery. When Anne falls in love with Peter, she finds happiness amidst her misery. Love is certainly the only countermeasure against the horror of war.


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