The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | April 16–May 3, 1944 | Summary

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Summary

April 16, 1944

"Do you think Mother and Father would approve of a girl my age sitting on a divan and kissing a seventeen-and-a-half-year-old boy?" Anne Frank suspects they wouldn't. She decides she must trust her own judgment. On April 15, Peter van Daan finally kisses her. She is thrilled and calls it "a red-letter day."

April 17–April 21, 1944

Anne, noting that she is not yet 15, sees her experience with Peter as part of her growing independence. Cooped up in the Secret Annex, why shouldn't she and Peter follow their desires? She is aware that they both may want more from each other physically, and she finally talks to him about female anatomy. Still, she's worried. Should she tell her father what's going on? When she finally does (April 29), her father does not disapprove, but he does tell her to be very cautious. Caught up in emotion as she is, however, Anne is still able to be objective about Peter. "Anne, be honest!" she writes on May 2. "You wouldn't be able to marry him. But it's so hard to let go."

April 25–May 2, 1944

Anne also has other things on her mind. Her interest in studying has been rekindled since she decided she wants to become a journalist. She does not want to fulfill the traditional feminine role of ordinary housewife. On April 27, she lists what she's studied that day in the Annex—a vast array of subjects, including zoology, history, and French.

Since the last break-in, security measures in the Secret Annex are even tighter. The toilet can't be flushed during the day, and windows can't be left open at night. Mr. Dussel is furious about the second rule; in the April 25 entry, he vows to speak to Mr. Kugler. Anne replies that, "we never discussed matters of this sort with Mr. Kugler, only within the group." She's clearly more mature than Mr. Dussel had realized, and he backs down.

May 3, 1944

Anne thinks deeply about the question of why wars occur, concluding that "there's a destructive urge in people" (May 3) and that humanity would need to change completely to eliminate that urge. However, she refuses to despair and feels full of life.

Analysis

Anne Frank has often said she's closer to her father than her mother, and this section bears her out. "Do you think it's my duty to tell Father what I'm up to?" she writes on April 17. "Much of the beauty would be lost, but would it make me feel better inside?" She doesn't seem to consider confiding in her mother; in fact, not once in this section does she mention telling her mother about Peter van Daan, which would surely be the more normal choice for a girl in 1944.

Mr. Frank's response seems surprisingly open-minded for a mid-20th-century European father. He urges restraint, but he's respectful at the same time. It's difficult to know what to make of Anne's asking her father to speak to Peter as well. Is she hoping that Mr. Frank will help keep Peter in line? Why doesn't it occur to her that Peter should probably talk to his own father? Still, the request shows that both she and Peter view Mr. Frank as an authority figure they can trust, and his advice shows why.

Anne's growing relationship with Peter has become more physical. For such a young woman, she already has an impressive sense of herself and what she wants—and doesn't want—in her future. Given that it is 1944, she is ahead of her time in some important ways. She unafraid to explore her sexuality. She recognizes her potential for a full, interesting life, and she rejects traditional feminine roles. Despite the strain and fear of a life in hiding during wartime and the clear dangers the war presents, Anne views the Secret Annex as "a big adventure" and feels "blessed with many things."

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