The Diary of Anne Frank
This study guide will help you analyze the autobiography The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. You can also find a summary of the text, full characterizations, as well as inspiration for interpreting the diary and putting it into perspective.
Excerpt from the study guide:
Although Anne had previously strongly idealized her father and clung to his admiration, she now feels withdrawn from him as well. He also does not fulfill his responsibilities to her and treats her too much like a small child.
Despite learning more and more to see things from other people's perspectives and to better understand her parents' point of view, Anne comes to the realization in this stage of her life that she can only rely on herself:
I became a teenager, and was treated more like a grown-up. I began to think about things and to write stories, finally coming to the conclusion that the others no longer had anything to do with me. (…) I didn’t trust anyone but myself. (62%).
In early 1944, Anne reflects on her relationship with the van Daans and realizes that arguments with them were based on misconduct on both sides. She recognizes how easy it would be to keep peace in the secret annex if everyone was more understanding of each other.
Reflecting on old quarrels, Anne discovers with self-criticism that she has already changed considerably: “I’ve changed quite drastically, everything about me is different: my opinions, ideas, critical outlook. Inwardly, outwardly, nothing’s the same. And, I might safely add, since it’s true, I’ve changed for the better.” (70%).
Tenderness and contemplation
After Anne dreams of her childhood love, Peter Schiff, and thereby discovers her desire for the opposite sex, she feels older and she has “grown up” (51%). Her falling in love with Peter van Daan is the highlight of her time in secret annex. She discovers a softer side to herself and finally finds something to look forward to every day: “I also discovered an inner happiness underneath my superficial and cheerful exterior. (…) Now I live only for Peter, since what happens to me in the future depends largely on him!” (62%).
For Anne, the conquest of Peter van Daan dominates the first half of 1944 (see also “Love”). However, when she turns away from him again after the initial phase of falling in love and devotes more time to her own thoughts, it becomes apparent how independently and deeply Anne can think about the world although she is just fifteen years old.
Anne ponders man's relationship to nature, expresses feminist points of view, and analyzes her own character with an astonishing intellectual insight and eloquence.
At fourteen, when she looks back on her school days, Anne can hardly identify with her former self: “I look back at that Anne Frank as a pleasant, amusing, but superficial girl, who has nothing to do with me.” (62%). While she would love to relive the carefree cheerfulness for a few days, she is sure she could never go back to living her old life the same way.
Anne would no longer care about being admired. Instead, she would like to have a small circle of sincere friends who appreciate her for herself. She feels she has clearly outgrown her old life: “(…) my happy-go-lucky, carefree schooldays are gone forever. I don’t even miss them. I’ve outgrown them. I can no longer just kid around, since my serious side is always there.” (62%).