Irony in Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl: Dramatic & Verbal

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  • 0:04 Diary of a Young Girl
  • 0:24 Verbal Irony
  • 0:53 Dramatic Irony
  • 1:46 Situational Irony
  • 2:23 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.

'Diary of a Young Girl' by Anne Frank is a journal of an adolescent girl who spends two years hiding in an attic from Nazis. In this lesson, we will examine the verbal irony, situational irony, and dramatic irony that can be found in this novel.

Diary of a Young Girl

Considering that Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl was not intended to be a novel but to record the thoughts of an adolescent girl who happened to be living through an extraordinary situation, there is an incredible amount of irony in this story. The three types of irony we will discuss in this lesson are verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony. Let's find out more.

Verbal Irony

When someone is being sarcastic, it is usually an example of verbal irony. Verbal irony is when a character says the opposite of what they mean. After hearing about some of the terrible things that Nazis were doing, such as deportating people to concentration camps and executing them, Frank writes, 'Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I'm actually one of them!' This is an example of verbal irony because what Anne believes and what she says are polar opposites. In this case, the Germans are not humane.

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows more than the character and is aware that the character is behaving or speaking out of a lack of information. History has taught us that the Frank and van Pels families hiding in the attic will be caught and that only Anne's father will survive the concentration camp. However, Anne is still hopeful. Despite her agitation at being trapped in the attic for so long, she convinces herself that this situation will be limited in time.

Anne writes, 'As for us, we're quite fortunate. Luckier than millions of people. It's quiet and safe here, and we're using our money to buy food. We're so selfish that we talk about 'after the war' and look forward to new clothes and shoes, when actually we should be saving every penny to help others when the war is over, to salvage whatever we can.'

In reality, Anne is not fortunate and is not one of the lucky ones that will survive the war, making this an example of dramatic irony.

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