Examples of Symbolism in Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl

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  • 0:04 Symbols in 'Diary of a…
  • 0:26 Symbolic Objects in the Story
  • 2:48 Symbolic People
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will learn about some of the people and objects that Anne Frank used to symbolize some of her most intense feelings in 'Diary of a Young Girl.'

Symbols in Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank and her family were Jews living in Amsterdam during World War II. In order to avoid detention and being sent to a concentration camp, Anne and her family hide in an office building for two years. Anne clings to certain objects and memories that symbolize her feelings throughout this ordeal. Symbols are things that represent ideas or emotions and it's what we're going to be focusing on in this lesson today.

Symbolic Objects in the Story

Let's look at some of the symbols from Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl.

Anne's Diary

Anne's diary in itself is a symbol of comfort. It was a gift from her last birthday before she had to go into hiding, making it something she can cling to from her former life. It also enables her to maintain some privacy as she is living in a small space with seven other people and sharing a bedroom with a middle-aged man. Anne writes, I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support. The diary becomes even more than that when, after a break-in, the diary becomes a real threat to their existence if the police find it, yet Anne is willing to sacrifice her life to keep it.

The Yellow Star

The Star of David is a religious symbol of the Jewish faith, but during the holocaust, Jews were forced to wear a yellow Star of David to identify those whose rights had been removed. Anne writes, Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star. . . Some of the rights that were restricted to those wearing the star included giving up bicycles and cars, assigning strict curfews, and forbidding access to movies, swimming pools, and athletic venues. Jews were required to do their shopping between 3 and 5 P.M. Jews were required to frequent only Jewish-owned barbershops and beauty parlors. Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8 P.M. and 6 A.M. Jews were forbidden to attend theaters, movies or any other forms of entertainment. Jews and Christians were segregated not only in schools, but in their homes. Anne writes, You couldn't do this and you couldn't do that, but life went on. The yellow star became symbolic of religious oppression.

Ration Coupons

During hard times when there are not enough goods to go around, the government will step in to determine how much of each commodity a person or family should be able to buy so they will not exceed their fair share. Ration coupons were given to authorize a person to make a purchase. As only citizens were given ration coupons, once the Franks went into hiding, they stopped receiving rations. Anne writes, We also purchase ration books on the black market. The price keeps going up; it's already risen from 27 to 33 guilders. Ration coupons symbolize sustenance and greed, They would have starved without them. As a result, things that seemed valuable before the war were sold off to purchase coupons, and the price of the coupons continued to rise because they were in such great demand.

Symbolic People

Let's now take a closer look at some of the symbolic people in Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl.

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