Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl: Themes & Analysis

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  • 0:04 Summary of Anne's Story
  • 1:09 Anne's Maturing
  • 2:27 Anne's Love & Sexuality
  • 3:14 Anne's Inner Conflict
  • 4:08 Analysis of Anne's Diary
  • 5:09 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Anne Frank's Diary is rich with lessons about love and loss. Her diary shows the workings of Anne's mind as she copes with the challenges of being in hiding with her family. This lesson will review and analyze these themes in the diary.

Summary of Anne's Story

The Diary of Anne Frank tells the story of Anne and her family's struggles while they were hiding during World War II. The family hoped to evade the Nazis because of their Jewish faith.

Another family consisting of three people and a dentist also hid with the Franks. This meant that eight people hid in the small Secret Annex that was attached to the back of Mr. Frank's business.

While they are hiding in the Secret Annex, Anne, who is only 13, started the process of growing up and maturing, while dealing with the realities of the war and the fear of being killed. Unfortunately, after two years of hiding, someone reported their hiding space to the Nazis, and everyone was captured and sent to concentration camps. Anne, along with her mother and sister, did not survive, making Anne's father, Otto, the sole survivor. After the war, he spent the rest of his life publishing and talking about his daughter's work.

Anne's Maturing

Anne started puberty when she went into hiding with her family. As she matured, the frivolous young girl that first went into hiding is replaced with an Anne that realized why her mother behaved as she did. She also realized her old self, her younger self, was too emotional.

'I was furious at Mother (and still am a lot of the time). It's true, she didn't understand me, but I didn't understand her either. Because she loved me, she was tender and affectionate, but because of the difficult situations I put her in, and the sad circumstances in which she found herself, she was nervous and irritable, so I can understand why she was often short with me.'

Anne realized that she has matured and grown. Her growth could be attributed to her constant communication with the adults, or the fact that she is dealing with constant fear and conflict, honing her into handling these situations with more grace.

'When I think back to my life in 1942, it all seems so unreal. The Anne Frank who enjoyed that heavenly existence was completely different from the one who has grown wise within these walls.'

Anne's Love and Sexuality

As she continued to mature, Anne was also discovering her sexuality and feelings. This resulted in her becoming curious about her body and her evolving feelings for Peter van Pels, a 16-year-old boy who also hid in the Annex. Although she waffled on whether she was actually in love, she did talk passionately about him and their time together.

'Is it right? Is it right for me to yield so soon, for me to be so passionate, to be filled with as much passion and desire as Peter? Can I, a girl, allow myself to go that far?'

The feelings she had also led her think about sex and her body. She ended up describing her genitalia which has been the reason for a lot of controversy.

Anne's Inner Conflict

Anne frequently discussed the two different sides of her personality (calling them the two Annes); one side was frivolous and a clown for the public, and the other one that was more introspective and gentle. She didn't share the second Anne with anyone but Peter because she feared people's responses to this more mature Anne.

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