The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | November 9–December 7, 1942 | Summary

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Summary

November 9–November 17, 1942

Anne Frank returns to relating details of everyday life and describes how the residents of the Secret Annex manage to eat (November 9). They have stored cans of food and bags of beans in the attic. On November 10, an eighth person comes to live in the Secret Annex: a dentist named Albert Dussel, an acquaintance of the Frank family. (Anne calls him both "Dr." and "Mr." Dussel; mostly the latter.) Margot Frank moves into her parents' bedroom, and Mr. Dussel—whom Anne calls "a very nice man"—will share Anne's bedroom, as nothing else is possible.

November 19–November 28, 1942

Mr. Dussel brings terrible news of the outside world. Anne recounts on November 19 how military police go from house to house "night after night," rounding up Jewish families: "countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate." To a certain extent, Anne and the others have been shielded from these stories; now that buffer is completely gone. Anne fears deeply for her friends, who are being persecuted "all because they're Jews."

Within three weeks, Mr. Dussel reveals himself to be less pleasant than anyone had thought. He lectures Anne incessantly and complains to Mrs. Frank about Anne's behavior. Paradoxically, Mr. Dussel's arrival makes Anne feel lonelier and more isolated than ever. Now that she's more aware of what her fellow Jews are suffering outside the Annex, she also feels guilty and "ungrateful" for even thinking about her own woes.

December 7, 1942

There's a respite from routine when the residents celebrate both Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day, a celebration of the Christian saint that includes an exchange of gifts. The two holidays happen to fall only a day apart. Hanukkah passes with little fuss, but helpers Miep Gies and Bep arrange a delightful St. Nicholas Day for the residents—the first these Jewish families have ever celebrated.

Analysis

So much goes on in this section that it would be easy to miss a masterful editing decision on Anne Frank's part. In the entry for November 17, when Mr. Dussel moves into the Secret Annex, Anne copies into her diary a prospectus and guide written for the newest resident of the Annex. This document, a parody of a hotel brochure, functions as a lighthearted guide ("Diet: Low-fat") but also sets out some of the important customs already established in the Annex: no listening to German news on the radio, actual rest hours "to ensure the safety of all," and mealtimes that vary depending on news broadcasts.

It's a funny and informative document, but by copying the entire thing, Anne is able to transmit a large amount of detailed information about daily life in the Annex in a very compressed form. Many of these details are ones Anne hasn't mentioned before, perhaps because it would have been hard to make them interesting on their own. The prospectus includes a schedule for mealtimes, work obligations, exercise, educational activities, and rest. It also reveals that the residents of the Annex, including the Franks who are German, no longer speak German or read books in German because "only the language of civilized people may be spoken, thus no German." In addition to Anne's comments about her distress at the deportation and killing of other Jews, this suggests how fully the Franks have rejected the direction their home country has taken.

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