Literature Study GuidesThe Diary Of A Young GirlSeptember 10 November 17 1943 Summary

The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | September 10–November 17, 1943 | Summary

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Summary

September 10–September 29, 1943

Anne's entry for September 10 brings wonderful news: Italy has surrendered to the Allied forces. "As always, the Dutch program was uplifting without being too optimistic," she adds. The same entry brings sad news as well: Mr. Kleiman, one of their helpers, needs a serious operation. Anne remarks on his bravery when he says goodbye to the group: "He acted so normally, as though he were just off to do an errand."

Anne is having trouble mastering her own moods. Stress, danger, and claustrophobia are wearing her down, and she claims that "we have almost forgotten how to laugh." A man who works in the office warehouse is becoming suspicious about the Secret Annex; Mr. and Mrs. van Daan are now broke and are hoarding food that actually belongs to all the residents. The van Daans are forced to sell their clothes and other possessions to raise funds.

October 17–October 30, 1943

In fact, everyone is feeling on edge. "I've gone completely around the bend," Anne confesses on October 17. She feels slighted by her family. Anne believes her father fails to see her as an individual and that her parents favor Margot. Yet her writing skills do not fail her. Her descriptions, even of her own depression, continue to be vivid. "I feel like a songbird whose wings have been ripped off and who keeps hurling itself against the bars of its dark cage" (October 30). Though irritated by everyone's behavior, Anne never portrays them as anything less than individuals. She also manages to be objective about her own emotions, realizing that the moods of others will surely affect her own.

November 3–November 17, 1943

"To keep our minds off matters as well as to develop them" (November 3), Anne's father orders a catalog from a correspondence school. He also orders a Bible for Anne so she can read the New Testament. Gradually, the residents stop quarreling for a time. After a year and a half in the Annex, Anne speculates on November 8 that she "can't imagine the world will ever be normal again for us."

Analysis

Throughout Anne's diary, it's clear that her parents want Anne and her sister to study a broad range of subjects. This is probably why her father asks one of the helpers to provide Anne with a children's New Testament (the part of the Bible dealing with the life of Jesus). Margot is troubled by the notion of Anne's receiving a New Testament for Hanukkah, so Mr. Frank decides to present Anne with the Bible on St. Nicholas' Day—a minor Christian holiday that the Secret Annex residents have taken to celebrating because so many of their helpers are Christian.

Hanukkah is the only Jewish holiday Anne mentions in the diary. Though their religious identity is very important to the Franks, they don't appear to celebrate the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the two most important and meaningful Jewish holidays. Later in the diary, Anne will mention being troubled by Peter van Daan's lack of religious belief; she'll also express gratitude for her own faith in God. But from the evidence in the diary, the Franks are not particularly observant Jews in terms of their religious practices.

The residents have now been in hiding for over a year. The effects of such long-term concealment are becoming more and more evident. The desperation, irritation, and depression experienced by the residents are understandable symptoms of the highly stressful circumstances in which they live. Now, the stress of the situation is transforming the way Anne sees the world and the future.

She feels that rather than returning to life as they knew it once the war is over, "it's as if I were talking about a castle in the air, something that can never come true." Her description of living in the Secret Annex demonstrates this shift in her perspective: "I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds ... The ring between us and the approaching danger is being pulled tighter and tighter." While there is still some humor in her entry on November 11 about the loss of her fountain pen, the story of the lost pen is eerie, too. Given Anne's coming fate, the pen's destruction in the stove and Anne's declaration that she would like to be cremated just like her pen feel less amusing than somehow foreboding.

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