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The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | July 29–August 23, 1943 | Summary



July 29, 1943

On July 29, Anne again manages to keep her temper in the face of harsh criticism from Mrs. van Daan and Mr. Dussel, that she "knows way too much about things [she's] not supposed to." Anne does not hesitate to defend herself: "I astonished myself by calmly replying, 'You may think I haven't been raised properly, but many people would disagree!'"

August 3, 1943

Later,"Our beautiful radio was taken away last week," Anne laments on August 3. (The Germans are demanding that people all over Holland are required to turn in their radios to them.) Mr. Kugler lends a small radio to the group.

August 4, 1943

Now that they've been in hiding for more than a year, Anne decides to describe more fully what life is like in the Secret Annex. The residents are suffering from a lack of physical exercise and an infestation of fleas from Mouschi, the cat successor to Moortje. On August 4, Anne begins by describing what a typical night in the Annex is like as the residents set up their beds, take turns in the bathroom, put up the blackout screen, and fall asleep—to be woken a few hours later if there's gunfire.

August 5, 1943

In her entry for August 5, she moves on to a description of the group's typical lunch break; then she portrays their dinner, sketching each person's character based on how that person behaves at table. An account follows of the daily group chore of peeling potatoes; this activity is just as revealing about each person's personality. Living so closely together, the residents continue to get on one another's nerves.

August 7–August 23, 1943

Once again, Anne's description of a typical morning mentions how quiet each resident must be during the daytime. As soon as it's 8:30 a.m., people will arrive in the office; they mustn't hear anything from the Secret Annex, no sound that could give away the fact that people are hiding there.


Anne's diary entries for August 4 and 5 remind her readers how cramped the Secret Annex is. Anne's bed is too short for her and must be extended with chairs. Worse, she shares the tiny bedroom (about 16 by 7 square feet) with a 54-year-old man who snores! What would once have seemed strange now feels almost normal—partly because, as Anne makes clear, the eight residents have set up such a well-organized routine.

In learning to write, beginning authors are often advised to write what they know, or draw from their own lives, in order to produce a work that feels more authentic. Anne's account of the daily potato-peeling sessions is an excellent example of the way she writes what she knows. Deftly, she characterizes the other residents with details. She turns what must have been an arduous and boring chore into a set piece that is fun to read. In doing so, she also demonstrates her strengths as a writer: an ability to closely observe, to select interesting, pertinent details, and to weave them into a compelling, compact portrait of each resident. She can also effectively convey her own lively sensibility, communicating her personality fully and convincingly on the page.

What does Anne mean when she talks about turning in the Secret Annex radio? Once the Nazis had invaded Holland, the Dutch found it increasingly difficult to listen to their own radios. Beginning in 1940, both foreign and Dutch broadcasting programs were heavily censored by the Germans. In January 1941, the Nazis forbade the broadcasting of English and American songs; two months later, all Dutch broadcasting companies were dismantled.

Still, the Dutch continued tuning in to broadcasts from Allied countries, especially the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and the exiled Dutch Government station Radio Orange. When the Nazis proved unsuccessful at jamming these broadcasts, they decided to confiscate all Dutch radios on May 13, 1943.

The private office in the Secret Annex building had housed a large, high-quality radio that had to be turned in. After that, the residents had to make do with a small radio smuggled in by one of their helpers. Radio was an important morale booster for the group.

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