The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | Character Analysis


Anne Frank

At 13, Anne is the youngest member of the eight people hiding in a space called the Secret Annex in her father's office building to escape persecution by the Nazis. Anne is creative and intelligent. A talented writer with a lively voice, she plans to publish her diary after the war and spends time polishing a second draft. She struggles to maintain her independence under the watchful eye of so many adults in such a small space. Over the course of her time in the Annex, she goes through puberty, gains a boyfriend, becomes determined to stand on her own, and writes one of the most famous diaries of all time. Her life is cut short when she and the other residents are discovered and arrested by the Nazis and then deported to Poland. Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in early 1945.

Otto Frank

Otto Frank, nicknamed "Pim," is a Jewish businessman. When the Nazis forbid Jews to own their own businesses, he loses the directorship of his company. A natural leader, he is a bright, empathetic man. He is very supportive of Anne, who feels closer to him than to her mother, although he can be somewhat overprotective. After the residents of the Annex are discovered, arrested by the Nazis, and sent to various concentration camps, he is the sole survivor and is liberated from Auschwitz. He undertakes a long journey back, in poor health, to Amsterdam, hoping to find some remnant of his family. After coming into possession of Anne's diary, he edits and publishes it. He died in 1980 in Switzerland.

Mrs. Frank

Mrs. Edith Frank is a cultivated and highly intelligent woman but also high strung, temperamental, and somewhat vain. Anne does not feel especially close to her, and they have an often turbulent relationship. It improves, however, as the diary progresses, and Anne realizes that she has been unfair to her mother in many ways. Edith Frank died in Auschwitz-Birkenau in early 1945 of fatigue and starvation.

Margot Frank

Anne describes Margot Frank as brilliant, but the sisters do not have much in common. Margot is quiet and serious-minded, takes her religion more seriously, and is an extremely diligent student, even in the Secret Annex. Margot died of typhus along with Anne at the Bergen-Belsen camp in early 1945.

Peter van Daan

Initially, Peter van Daan strikes Anne as dull and talentless, but she comes to see that he has hidden strengths. The two become very close and then somewhat romantically involved, to the distress of their parents. Peter acts as a source of comfort for Anne, but she eventually finds that, for her, he does not have enough drive. Peter died, likely of exhaustion, in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in May 1945.

Mr. van Daan

Anne describes Mr. van Daan as gloomy, annoying, and pessimistic about the war. She also reports that he is opinionated, and determined always to have the last word. He and Anne are frequently in conflict with each other. After the residents' capture, Mr. van Daan (van Pels) was put to death at Auschwitz in 1945.

Mrs. van Daan

According to Anne, Mrs. van Daan is hard to live with: hypersensitive, nervous, and self-centered. She also relentlessly nags others, including Anne, who dislikes her for acting like an overbearing parent. After the residents' capture, Mrs. van Daan (van Pels) was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and then to the camp in Theresienstadt, where she would die in April 1945.

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