‘Anne Frank: The Diary Of a Young Girl’ is the autobiography/diary of the historical figure Anne Frank. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl that lived during the second world war in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Anne Frank was born on June 12th 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany. She then moved to the Netherlands in 1933 along with her family that consisted of; her, her sister, Margot Frank, and her parents, Edith and Otto Frank. The Frank family lived in Amsterdam during the second world war, where they went into hiding before being taken away by the Germans in August of 1944 and then they were sent to concentration camps in Germany. Anne Frank then died in 1945, age 15.
Anne Frank started writing her diary at age thirteen when she received the journal as a birthday present. The first entry of her diary is under the date ‘Sunday, 14 June, 1942’. Anne’s diary is not written in the style of a traditional diary but instead Anne wrote almost all of the entries in a form of letters to her imaginary friend ‘Kitty’. Anne starts most of the entries with “Dear Kitty,”. She also addresses ‘Kitty’ in some entries as if they are penpals, Anne wrote ‘You asked me what my hobbies and interests were,’ (p.198). In the very beginning of the diary Anne talks about how she thinks that no one would be interested in reading the diary, ‘it seems to me that neither I nor for that matter anyone else will be interested in the unbosoming of a thirteen year old school girl’ (p.2). Keeping a diary to Anne, was more about getting her thoughts on paper and finding something to trust as she said ‘I hope I shall confide in you completely’ (p1), as well as “paper is patient” which is one of her favourite saying that she keeps repeating throughout the entire book. She also said ‘I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart’ (p.2). Although, in a couple of the last entries of the diary, Anne expresses her desire to publish her diary after the war when she heard on the radio the British government encouraging people to publish any writings they have about the war.
Anne Frank discussed a lot of different things in her diary including the state of the outside world from her point of view before and when she went into hiding. For example, in her diary Anne talks a lot about the situation for the allied and the axis powers during the second world war. She said ‘The invasion has begun’ (p.244) referring to ‘D-day’. She also wrote about the dutch economy and prices of things during the war. She said ‘what they tell us about the prices and the people is almost unbelievable, half a pound of tea costs 350 florins’ (p.226). Anne discussing the economical situation as well as the war back then helps the 21st century reader gain a deeper understanding of how the world was in the early 1940s.
Anne also wrote about her beliefs versus society’s beliefs in the early 1940s. She describes the views of society on girls and women back then and also talks about how she doesn’t want to fit into the mold that society back then made for girls and women. She said that women uptill the early 1940s were expected to stay at home, cook, clean and raise children, while she wanted to work and travel the world. Looking at what she wrote from a 21st century reader’s point of view, her ideology and beliefs about the way women were treated and expected to behave are understandable and would have been accepted in the 21st century, as nowadays a lot of women do work and travel the world.
She also talks about things that are more personal to her such as growing up and being a teenage girl in the early 1940s during the war. She talks about how children and teenagers were thought to not have an opinion or were not allowed to express their opinions, while the adults had more experience in life and therefore, had a better opinion and were always right. Although, if Anne Frank would’ve lived in the 2010s, that rule wouldn’t have applied since in today’s world with the introduction of technology (such as smartphones) and social media, it is really easy to express your opinions about anything and everything no matter how young or old you are.
In her diary, Anne also wrote about things that are more personal to her such as her relationships and what she thought about the people that she lived with in ‘the secret annexe’. Anne wrote a lot about how most of her relationships with everyone that lives in ‘the secret annexe’ aren’t very good as she doesn’t get along with them. In page 30 Anne talked about how she doesn’t get along with her mother, she wrote “we simply don’t get on together”. On the other hand Anne didn’t write much about her relationship with her sister, Margot, nor Mr. Van Daan. Although, she did write quite a bit about Mrs. Van Daan, who according to Anne is always criticizing her mercilessly. She wrote ‘Mrs. Van Daan thinks I’m stupid because I’m not quite so lacking in intelligence as she is’ (p.249). She also got her thoughts about Mr. Dussel one paper saying ‘Now he shows himself in his true colours; a stodgy, old-fashioned disciplinarian, and preacher of long, drawn-out sermons on manners’ (p.56).
Anne also talked about her relationship with her father, she wrote ‘Daddy’s the only one who has always taken me into confidence, no one but daddy has given me the feeling that I’m sensible’ (p.261). Lastly, Anne wrote about Peter Van Daan, who in the beginning she did not get along with but eventually became quite close together. In page 196 she wrote “Peter filled my days nothing but Peter, dreams and thoughts”.
In the third entry of the diary, ‘Saturday, 20 June, 1942’, Anne talks about how she doesn’t have any ‘real friends’ whom she can trust, which is the reason behind her keeping a diary. A lot of 21st century readers will be able to relate to this part of the book as bullying, especially in schools and online, is one of the biggest issues in today’s world, which causes people (mainly teenagers) not to trust others, which makes it quite difficult to make friends.
Anne talked about how she thinks that no one is interested in her life and she uses the quote “paper is patient” which to her means that writing is possibly the only way for her to express herself without being judged. Although nowadays it isn’t as common for someone to judge your personality, thoughts or beliefs as it was in the 20th century, it still happens everywhere in the world to the point that people (especially teenagers) start refusing to talk to people or developing a mental issues, such as depression, or start acting different so they would fit into their community or society.
In the few last entries of the diary Anne talks about how she feels like there are two of her, the Anne that faces everyone, everyday and displays strength. While the second Anne is the Anne that writes in the diary and is vulnerable. In page 218, Anne talks about how the vulnerable and emotional part of her is starting to show itself, she wrote “The Anne who is gentle shows herself too little anyway and, therefore, will not allow herself to be suddenly driven into the background”.
After Anne Frank’s diary was published and is now read by millions of people all around the world she has come to represent the Jewish community especially the jewish community that lived in Germany and the Netherlands during the second world war. She has also come to represent the suffering of the jews during the war as hundreds of thousands of innocent jews were killed. This is one the most extreme examples of racism against a minority group that was enabled by a dictator in the history of the world. Sadly, racism against minority groups still happens to this day but is more verbal rather than physical. Although, nowadays as social media platforms are becoming one of the biggest ways for people to express their opinions, they have also become one of the biggest ways for people to practise racism and bring eachother down.
In the today's world her identity has come to represent suffering for any minority group. Although, to me Anne Frank is a girl who didn’t just suffer the war but also suffered from societies harsh opinions and beliefs towards young girls and women, which she wanted to change. I also think of her as a very intelligent girl, who always had her own opinions and beliefs which she always wanted to voice, yet was smart enough to know when it was appropriate to say what was on her mind. I think that everyone should read this book as it represents a piece of the world’s history, but will help you have a deeper understanding of the war as well as the society of the early 1940s. Anne’s diary also helps the reader to have a deeper understanding of how it is like to be a victim of racism, although we only have Anne’s point of view while there are millions of people who have experienced racism whether it was for religious reasons or for their race. Reading Anne’s diary helped me realise that racism happens all over the world for different reasons and how it should never be accepted or tolerated as part of our society.