Who is Kitty in Anne Frank's Diary?

Instructor: Erica Schimmel

Erica has taught college English writing and literature courses and has a master's degree in children's literature.

Everyone wants a friend they can trust with their most private thoughts and feelings. For Anne Frank, this friend turns out to be her diary. In this lesson, we will look a bit more closely at that diary and the role it plays in 'The Diary of a Young Girl.'

A Written Companion

Have you ever kept a diary? Writing in a diary or journal can be helpful in many ways. Not only does a diary help us keep track of our lives and activities, but it can also provide a space where we can express our thoughts and feelings without worrying about holding anything back.

Anne Frank's diary became her most trusted friend. It also gives readers valuable insight into the tragic events of the Holocaust. Now published as The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne's written account of her two years spent in hiding during World War II helps us remember the struggles she and other Jewish families faced. Thanks to Anne, we have an inside look at what it was like for those Jews in hiding and those brave enough to try and help them. What role did her diary play in her life? Let's learn a bit more about the diary that became Anne's closest friend.

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Anne's first entry is June 12, 1942 after she receives a diary for her 13th birthday. At first, writing in a diary feels strange for her. Like most of us, Anne longs for a best friend, someone with whom she can share everything and not worry about how her friend will react. This is why she starts a diary. She wants ''the diary to be my friend, and I'm going to call this friend 'Kitty.''' Instead of writing ''Dear Diary,'' Anne begins her diary entries with ''Dearest Kitty.''

Anne has human friends, of course, but she feels these friends are not ''true friends'' because they do not have conversations about ''anything but ordinary everyday things.'' With Kitty, Anne hopes she ''will be able to confide everything'' and that her diary will ''be a great source of comfort and support.''

Anne named her diary Kitty.

Purposeful Penmanship

Many of Anne's entries are concerned with her emotions. She often writes to Kitty about her struggles with her mother, the difficulties of life in hiding, or her relationship with Peter, a young man hiding with the Franks. This is not all Anne shares with her friend. She also records the ordinary day-to-day routines of a hidden life.

For example, on August 4 and 5, Anne writes to Kitty that ''to give you a closer look into our lives, from time to time I'll describe part of an ordinary day.'' She goes on to describe how she and the others in hiding manage to do such things as cook, clean, or even use the bathroom - things we might take for granted. These details give us a clearer idea of not only life in hiding but also what's happening in the world outside their hiding place. With Kitty, Anne shares things she might share with another person.

Eye on Publication

Though Anne may have begun her diary with the intention of creating a friend, her thoughts turn to publishing her writing after the war. One night in March of 1944, she and the others she is hiding with hear Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, announce that they will collect diaries and letters about the war once the war ends. Since Anne's diary is no secret among her housemates, she shares that ''everyone pounced on my diary.'' Anne, too, is intrigued by the idea and begins writing about publishing - not only her diary, but also the short stories she's working on.

Anne wanted to publish her diary.
Anne Frank

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