Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Please refer to the above writeup for quotes from and historical information about this diary. I will merely be discussing the contents.

The beginning - June 1942 to July 1943

Anne begins her diary shortly before her family goes into hiding from the Nazis. You almost immediately get a sense of whom she is, but not really of who anyone else is. Anne is writing almost exclusively about herself at this point. You learn that she is popular with the boys and is quite a talker at school.

Soon Anne and her family go into hiding. They move into their "secret annex" which is a set of hidden rooms that are located in the office building that her father Otto Frank worked in. The Frank family (Anne, her parents, and her sister Margot) are soon joined by the Van Daan family and their son Peter. Eventually they are joined by a Mr. Dussel, but he plays little part in the story, aside from arguing with all the other people.

Now that everyone is together the quarreling can begin. This section of the book is filled equally with arguments and little details about their life in hiding. The arguments seem to dominate most of the text. For it seems that no one can get along with anyone else. Anne seems to think that everyone is against her, and doesn't really seem to realize that everyone is against everyone, not just her (at least she never makes the connection between the two ideas).

Even this early on in her diary you begin to get a sense of Anne's dislike for other women. She says very little of her older sister Margot, and is already giving hints that she feels very little in the way of love towards her mother. While Mrs. Van Daan fairs worst of all, Anne rarely has anything nice to say about her at all. Her father on the other hand can do no wrong in her eyes, and she usually has decent things to say about Mr. Van Daan (when she isn't ripping apart their whole family at once). Anne says little of Peter, except that he is quiet, and has a tendency to touch her cheek.

One thing I noticed almost immediately was how good Anne's writing really was. Although I soon realized that the copy of this diary I was reading was in English, so she may have had quite a bit of help from the translator. I would love to see anyone who has read the original Dutch comment on this.

Anne starts to grow up - August 1943 to December 1943

In this section of the diary Anne begins to withdraw from everyone else around her. She alternately praises and damns everyone. Her dislike for her mother grows and grows, and she barely mentions Margot at all. Anne is writing almost exclusively about herself and the Van Daans at this point. It has actually seemed that Anne has always written better descriptions about the people who were not in her family, than about the people who were. This is most likely due to the sheer familiarity of her family members.

Towards the end of this section it seems that Anne has decided that she is quite grown up, and is somehow different than everyone else around her. But she is continually frustrated by her inability to show others who she thinks she is.

This middle section may be the best part of the diary. But there is little I can really say about it, as it consists mostly of Anne's thoughts about life. There is very little action besides the occasional scare that they may have been discovered. But those scares are all over the diary, and not just here.

Anne's sexual awakening - January 1944 to August 1944

Beginning in January of 1944 Anne begins to write almost exclusively about love and her desires. This section begins with a recollection about a sleepover she once had, where she kissed one of her female friends and attempted to feel her breasts. This is followed by a brief admittance that she is fascinated with the nude female body.

Anne's thoughts soon turn from girls to boys. She actually speaks of Peter for the first time as if he might actually be interesting. The very next day she has a semi-erotic dream involving an old "boyfriend" of hers (the actual dream would only be considered "erotic" because of the attached emotions, as it was actually quite tame). That boy's name was also Peter, but he was not the same Peter that was sharing the secret annex with her.

Anne becomes fully obsessed with Peter very quickly, but she fears that the feelings are not mutual. She begins to spend a lot of time with him, seeing him almost every day. They grow closer and closer, and Anne becomes more and more attached to him. She goes from saying she isn't in love with him to saying she thinks she might be, to saying that she is in love with him.

Peter is very slow in responding to Anne's affections. This isn't because he doesn't like Anne (he does, it is very obvious to everyone but Anne), but because he is one of those guys who is just scared to death of girls. They do a lot of sitting together silently, as unsure young people tend to do. Eventually after months he makes his move and kisses Anne. This spurs a brief period of time where she is even more infatuated with him. But soon after her feelings toward him begin to dim somewhat (after all, she has achieved her goal).

The last few diary entries are more concerned with the war, and politics in general. The last entry (August 1, 1944) is a bit of a throwback to a year before. It is all about Anne, and how other people see her, and her fears of people seeing the "true Anne".

There is nothing more questionable than a few kisses here, despite the title I gave this section of the book. Anne was a very proper girl (for the time) when it came to such matters, and she rarely even mentioned anything other than kissing and handholding.