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Human Nature Quotes in Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl

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 examine some of Anne Frank's insights into human nature. We will draw that from her ''The Diary of a Young Girl'', looking at quotes from the book.

Frank as a Commentator

At just thirteen years old, Anne Frank endured atrocities beyond most people's imaginings when her family is forced to go into hiding to avoid being sent to labor camps after Nazi Germany occupies her town in Holland. Through her ordeal, she recorded her thoughts and feelings in a diary, which her father later shared with the world in the book The Diary of a Young Girl. Anne was a great commentator on human nature, possessing a unique perspective as the youngest person locked away for two years in a small area with her family and four others. Human nature refers to the common behavioral traits that all human beings share. Let's look at some quotes from this publication about human nature.

Anti-Semites

''Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I'm actually one of them!'' writes Anne as she begins to learn of the arrests and executions that are taking place in her community. At first, she finds it disgusting, but over time, she comes to the conclusion that hate is part of what makes us human and simply hopes that people will learn from it. Anne and all of the others who are hiding in the annex with her are greatly disappointed that anti-Semitism (bigotry against Jewish people) has grown so wide-spread in their community. Anne reflects, ''The reason for the hatred is understandable, maybe even human, but that doesn't make it right.''

Still, they remain in denial about the degree of inhumane (cruel) treatment that the Germans are capable of inflicting on the people of Holland in the name of hate. The men debate over whether or not the Germans would actually round up all of the citizens and take them by train to labor camps. While Jan, one of their helpers, doubts the Germans' capability of doing something like that, the men in the annex say, ''Do you think the Germans are too noble or humane to do it? Their reasoning is: if we go under, we'll drag everyone else down with us.''

The Annex Family

Anne does not only observe and comment on the events that are happening outside of the annex, but she also has plenty to observe within their hiding place. ''I wonder if everyone who shares a house sooner or later ends up at odds with their fellow residents. Or have we just had a stroke of bad luck?'' wonders Anne as her family becomes increasingly irritated at the van Daans and Mr. Dussel.

At times, it seems that they are not even trying to be fair or helpful. In frustration, Anne writes, ''Are most people so stingy and selfish? I've gained some insight into human nature since I came here, which is good, but I've had enough for the present.''

By the end of two years, Anne has had it with all of them, but especially Mrs. van Daan who is such a ''…silly, sniveling specimen of humanity…'' that Anne has lost all respect for her. At this point, Anne decides, ''There's only one rule you need to remember: laugh at everything and forget everybody else! It sounds egotistical, but it's actually the only cure for those suffering from self-pity.''

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