The Diary of a Young Girl | Study Guide

Anne Frank

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The Diary of a Young Girl | September 25–November 5 | Summary

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Summary

September 25–September 29, 1942

Almost four months have passed since Anne Frank's family went into hiding. She makes it clear that any novelty the Secret Annex once held for her is gone. Living in such a small space means that Anne and the other residents irritate each other on a regular basis. Chance remarks become bickering that then turns into open arguing, often about small matters. On September 28, Anne remarks that it seems odd to see adults quarreling "so easily and so often and about such petty matters."

Anne becomes increasingly angry about the criticism she receives from adults. She admits she feels her father treats her more kindly than her mother, who Anne feels fails to understand her. She finds Mrs. van Daan annoying and interfering. "I have no intention of taking their insults lying down," Anne says threateningly (September 28).

October 1–October 14, 1942

As part of her growing self awareness, Anne is eager for her menstrual periods to start—"then I'll be really grown up" (October 3). She mentions that she's now allowed to read more grown-up books. She also describes in detail, for the first time, what they have heard of how Dutch Jews are suffering at Westerbork, the Dutch concentration camp.

October 20–November 5, 1942

Anne further describes life in the Secret Annex. There are moments of anxiety and but also of pleasure, even humor. In one instance (October 20), she and her father are terrified when they think a carpenter who is assessing the building might discover their hiding place. At other times, the families laugh together or enjoy having friends like Miep and Jan stay overnight.

Analysis

Anne Frank conveys the challenges of being a teenager who can never get out of her parents' way. All the normal adolescent issues Anne faces become more highly charged because the Franks live in such a small space. To make matters worse, Mrs. van Daan appears to feel that she's Anne's "honorary mother," free to weigh in whenever something Anne does bothers her.

Anne dwells on what it is like to squabble with her mother and then to be reminded how lucky she is to be alive. Almost every entry in this section deals with mother-daughter problems—but then suddenly interrupting the everyday comes the entry for October 9, with Anne's horrified description of the Westerbork concentration camp and the fate of many other Dutch Jews.

There could hardly be a bigger gulf between statements such as, "I simply can't stand Mother" (October 3) and, "We assume that most of [the Jewish prisoners] are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed. Perhaps that's the quickest way to die." The first statement is typical of any 13-year-old; the second is chilling. She also references how the Gestapo, or the Nazi secret police, execute innocent people in the streets at will.

In Anne's next entry, she will return to more mundane concerns without mentioning the war. But what she writes on October 9 proves that the war is having an increasing impact on her state of mind, and that she identifies with Jewish suffering on a very deep level. In her October 20 entry, after a scary moment when she thinks a carpenter may discover the Secret Annex, she notes that "in my imagination, the man ... had kept growing and growing until he'd become not only a giant, but the cruelest Fascist in the world." Anne clearly realizes the danger she is in. The Nazi regime, led by dictator Adolf Hitler, was based on Fascist principles such as racial purity and the suppression of individuality and opposition. The discovery of the Secret Annex by the carpenter, if it occurred, would lead to capture by "the cruelest Fascist in the world," one who wants to eliminate all Jews. She knows this well.

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