Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank

BACKGROUND

As the title suggests, this book is a diary written by Anne Frank, who is, as you may have figured out, a young girl. Anne Frank and her whole family spent over two years in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Anne was 14 when she and seven other people had to leave their every day lives and live in a space about the size of your bathroom just to avoid being killed. Anneís diary is a first-hand account of the Holocaust. The book is written in journal entries which start the day she gets the diary and end a couple of years later right before the war is over. All the people in the "Secret Annexe" (thatís what they call the hide-out place) get found by the SS (Nazi police) and everyone dies except Anneís dad, who is the one who published this diary.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Anne Frank: The main girl of the book. She is 13 when she first writes in her diary (the book) and 15 when she writes her last entry. Anne is talkative, bright, and writes like a regular teenager even though she is living during a really hard time and her day to day life pretty much sucks.

Otto Frank: Anneís dad. He and Anne are really close. Heís the kind of dad you want to have, the kind that sticks up for you and loves you a lot. Anne totally looks up to him. Heís the only one of the group who survives the Holocaust.

Mrs. Frank: Anneís mom. She is a nice woman but she and Anne have that typical mom/daughter thing where they annoy each other. Sheís always trying to be Anneís friend, when Anne really wants a mom.

Margot Frank: Anneís sister. Smart and good looking, she also manages to piss off Anne a lot, even though they like each other deep down. Margot and her mom are tight.

Mr. Van Daan: A business associate of Mr. Frankís who moves into the Annexe with his family.

Mrs. Van Daan: Wife of Mr. Van Daan. She is self-centered, flirtatious, and non-too-smart. She and Anne are always fighting.

Peter Van Daan: The son who is 15 when the book starts. Heís quiet and kind of a slacker, but he and Anne end up liking each other, confiding in each other, and getting it on in a 1940ís kind of way (they kiss).

Albert Dussel: A dentist who moves into the Secret Annexe after Anne and the others have been there for a while. Heís a dentist.

Miep Van Santen: Miep is a woman. One of Mr. Frankís business people who helps them out a lot by protecting them and bringing food and stuff.

Henk Van Santen: Miepís new husband.

Elli Vossen: The business typist who is 23. She is nice and helpful.

Mr. Koophius: Another business partner of Mr. Frankís.

Mr. Kraler: He works for Mr. Frank, too.

Kitty: Anneís diary.

Mouschi: Peterís (the Van Daanís sonís) cat.

PLOT

Anne Frankís diary starts in 1942 in Holland where Anne lives with her family. Anne gets the diary as a 13th birthday present. When she first writes, Anne lives a pretty normal kind of life. She goes to school, has a group of friends, has crushes, and does her homework. However, things are getting bad with the whole Nazi situation. Germany is trying to take over Europe and Hitler has imposed a lot of strict rules on the Jews. They wear yellow stars on their clothes so they can be identified at all times, they can only shop in certain stores, etc. But Anneís life is okay. Then, suddenly, her sister is about to get sent off to a concentration camp (thatís where they kill the Jews and people who help the Jews) so Anneís whole family move into this tiny secret space in Mr. Frankís office building. The Van Daans also move in.

The diary charts Anneís life in the Secret Annexe (what they call the hiding place). They all live in fear of being found and sent to their deaths. At the same time, they have to keep on living their day to day lives, so thereís a lot in the book about how Anneís days go, how she feels, and the daily rituals. Anne starts out as a young teenager but matures both emotionally and physically through the two years sheís in hiding. She and her mom go through tough times, but she and her dad remain close almost always. Anne grows to like Peter Van Daan as more than a friend and they are going out when the book ends. By the time Anne writes her last entry, she has grown into a young woman who can clearly express her ideas, her hopes, and her beliefs. The really important thing in this book is that Anne manages to keep hope alive even in the hardest, darkest times. Anne and everyone in the Annexe get found at the end of the book so the entries stop suddenly. Anneís dad is the only one who survives the hell of the concentration camps. He got Anneís diary published as a tribute to her.

ENTRY BY ENTRY

JUNE Ė OCTOBER 1942

  • The book starts in 1942 during World War II. The Germans were doing really bad things to anyone who didnít follow their orders. If you were Jewish or helped Jews, it didnít matter if you followed German orders, they wanted you dead anyway.
  • Anne Frank is 13. She lives in Holland with her mom, dad, and sister. She writes in her diary and hopes that someday she will have a true friend she can tell things to instead of a book.
  • Anne likes boys and her school work.
  • The Nazis are rounding up Jews to go to concentration camps so Anne and her family go "into hiding" in Mr. Frankís old office building.
  • The Van Daan family (mom, dad, 15 year-old Peter, Peterís cat, Mouschi) join the Franks in the "Secret Annexe" (the hiding place).
  • The Annexe is small and cramped, but at least it is safe. Itís closed off from the rest of the world by a secret doorway.
  • Miep, Mr. Kraler, Elli, and Mr. Koophius all used to work for Mr. Frank. They are the ones who help out by bringing the Franks and Van Daans food and anything from the outside world. Since the war is on, people have rations for sugar, butter, all food (you can only have a certain amount each week).
  • Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan fight a lot. This is hard for their son, Peter.
  • Anne gets pissed off because her mother treats her like a baby.
  • Mrs. Van Daan is a pain in the ass. She wonít do dishes, takes peopleís food, and is concerned only with her own stuff.
  • Mr. Frank stands up for Anne when she gets into arguments.
  • The conditions are so crappy that they consider using hot water to be a luxury.
  • Itís scary being in hiding, so when things like the doorbell rings at night, Anne gets totally freaked out.
  • A carpenter comes to the office and everyone suddenly has to be very quiet.
  • Mr. Frank gets sick.
  • Anne wants to get her period.

NOVEMBER 1942 Ė MARCH 1943

  • The people listen to the war on the radio. The Russians are winning and the people think that they donít have to worry about Hitler and his army coming and killing them.
  • Anne loves her dad as a person, not just as her father. She loves her mother and Margot only because they are her mom and sister.
  • Mrs. Frank is not a role model for Anne.
  • The British (good guys) land in Tunis and other places, so thereís some optimism about the war ending.
  • Mr. Frank gets better.
  • Food is hard to get. They eat a lot of beans (they have 270 pounds) since they are easy to store. The beans drop on the floor and make noise which is scary.
  • They take a new person into hiding with them Ė Mr. Dussel, a dentist. He shares Anneís room.
  • Mr. Dussel tells of many friends who have been sent away to be killed. The Germans spare no one, not pregnant women, not babies, not men, and definitely not Jews or helpers of Jews.
  • Mr. Dussel is not very nice.
  • Chanukah (Jewish holiday) is fun.
  • St. Nicholasí Day (like Christmas with presents, but without religion) is cool. They get presents and extra food from Miep.
  • They each get an extra butter ration. This is very cool for them.
  • Anne grows aware of how lucky she is to be in hiding, even if it sucks.
  • Anne cries a lot because her mother doesnít understand her.
  • Margot is always the good girl.
  • They listen to the war on a big radio so Anne knows about the politics and stuff.
  • Thereís a lot of gun fire at night.
  • Peter gets bitten by a rat (gross).
  • Boche is the cat that lives in the warehouse attached to the office.
  • Anne had grown so much she can hardly fit into any of her clothes or shoes.

APRIL Ė AUGUST 1943

  • Mr. Koophius has a stomach hemorrhage (bleeds).
  • Anne hurts her momís feeling by not telling her she loves her.
  • The Secret Annexe is filled with people who are annoyed at each other.
  • They have to eat things like dry bread for breakfast, spinach for dinner, and rotten potatoes.
  • Anne knows she lives in "paradise" compared with other Jews who arenít in hiding.
  • Peopleís clothes are torn, their manners have declined.
  • All students who want to graduate have to sign a paper saying they support what Hitler and Germany are doing.
  • Anneís birthday Ė she gets a poem from her dad.
  • Elliís dad has cancer. He was a help to them so this is sad.
  • Anne tries to be helpful but finds itís easier to pretend with people than be herself.
  • They read books, study, and listen to the radio for fun.
  • Anne and Dussel fight. Mr. Frank defends Anneís point of view.
  • Burglars break into the warehouse.
  • Amsterdam (capital of Holland) gets bombed.
  • They all long for freedom.
  • Lots of shooting and sirens.
  • Mussolini (Italian dictator) resigns. The Fascist party there is banned.
  • Mrs. Van Daan talks about things she doesnít even understand just so she can get attention.
  • Mouschi gives the Secret Annexe fleas.
  • Anne writes about the daily routine of living in hiding. Itís pretty boring. But it makes you appreciate things like being able to go to the bathroom when you want, or take a walk, or get a good nightís sleep.
  • Mr. Frank makes sure no one needs anything before he helps himself.

SEPTEMBER 1943 Ė FEBRUARY 1944

  • People are tense in the Annexe.
  • Mrs. Van Daanís birthday. She gets gifts like cheese, meat, and jam.
  • The Van Daans run out of money. Mrs. Van Daan throws a shit fit because they have to sell her fur coat to get some money for things like food.
  • Mr. Koophius has an operation and then comes back then goes away again.
  • Anne is nervous.
  • Itís frustrating to Anne that the Annexe is her world. Her emotions depend on what goes on there.
  • Life is SO boring, Anne writes an entire two page entry about her fountain pen.
  • Anneís moods go up and down.
  • Diphtheria (bad sickness) makes Elli stay at home.
  • Anne dreams about her friends, Lies, from school. Anne feels sad for people suffering.
  • On St. Nicholasí Day they get NADA, but Anne and her dad make up poems for each person.
  • Anne gets the flu which sucks normally, but when you canít even cough because youíre worried people will hear you and take you away to kill you, it REALLY sucks.
  • Anne longs for someone to understand her.
  • Anne looks back on her diary and feels bad about writing about her mom the way she did.
  • Anne still wishes her mom was more of a mom, less like a friend.
  • Anne goes through puberty. She grooves on what is happening to her body (she gets breasts, gets her period), and wants booty. Tough luck when youíre in hiding.
  • Everyone gets lonely, especially when thereís no one to talk to you your own age. Anne finally decides to talk to Peter.
  • When Anne talks to Peter, she feels more than just friendship.
  • Mrs. Frank pays more attention to Margot than to Anne.
  • Anne begins to ponder major life questions like why we have feelings, what to do with them, and how to be real.
  • The good guys (England, America) start to invade where the bad guys (Germany) have taken over.
  • Peter likes Anne.
  • Anne is disturbed by Peterís doubt about whether itís worth it to be Jewish. Sheís beginning to realize the importance of being true to yourself. Go, Anne!
  • Anne REALLY likes Peter. She thinks about another guy named Peter she used to go out with and now thinks of Peter Van Daan as kind of a mush of both of them.

MARCH - JULY

  • Peter and Anne like each other more and more.
  • Anne thinks back on her old life, before hiding, and thinks it was very superficial. She understands tat even though she was popular and had everything she wanted, she wasnít happy. This is because she now understands herself more and appreciates her life.
  • The people who get the food coupons for everyone are caught so the food is not much and what is there is really bad.
  • All the helpers (Miep, Elli, Mr. Kraler, Mr. Koophius) are either sick or in trouble.
  • Anne feels closed off emotionally.
  • Anne and Peter have one of those long conversations when you feel like youíve finally found the person youíve been looking for, the kind where now youíd hook up and be psyched, but itís only 1944 and they donít do that kind of thing, but they have a really great talk.
  • Anne and Margot exchange letters about Peter. Margot used to like Peter but now says heís too young for her. Guess who got dissed in a big way! But Anne and Margot are okay.
  • Mrs. Van Daan is jealous of Anne because Peter tells her everything.
  • On the news, there is talk of collecting diaries and letters after the war. Anne wants her diary to be read. This is ironic.
  • The food really bites. Haha.
  • Anne finds comfort when she writes.
  • Another burglary.
  • They get in trouble for going downstairs and canít do it again.
  • Anne gets her first kiss from Peter.
  • Anne contemplates nature, the outside sunshine, and her inner sunshine about Peter.
  • Anne debates with herself if itís okay to kiss Peter or if she should have held back.
  • Boche (the warehouse cat) disappears.
  • Anne tells her parents about liking Peter. At first, they are cool. Then, when they find out Anne and Peter kiss, Mr. Frank is not happy. Anne struggles with wanting to please her parents and feeling like she still wants to visit with Peter.
  • Anne learns how her parents both come from a lot of money. This is really cool when you think of how generous and modest Mr. Frank is with everyone.
  • Anne studies a lot. She likes the Greek myths.
  • Anne says her greatest wish is to become a journalist. This is VERY ironic.
  • Mr. Frankís birthday.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan fight about everything.
  • Anne and Peter are fine. They reach a point where Anne feels sheís closing off from him though.
  • Thereís a lot of hope about Holland being saved by the allies (the good guys).
  • They hear that many people who used to like the Jews now are anti-Semitic (against the Jews). Anne think about how Jews arenít even treated like human beings.
  • The guy who brings vegetables is caught by the police for hiding two Jews in his house.
  • Breakfast is no more, lunch is just porridge and bread, and dinner isnít much better.
  • Anne feels miserable. The war really gets to her. Her hopes begins to fade and she feels weak.
  • She wonders if itís better to be alive and live in fear or just to have gone to die.
  • Mrs. Van Daan flirts with Mr. Dussel.
  • June 6, 1944 is D-day. The good guys invade. Hopes are up.
  • Anneís birthday. Sheís now 15.
  • Peter isnít ideal to Anne, but she likes him anyway.
  • Anne gets very serious about life. She thinks about why we live, about how to be happy. She has grown up a lot. She knows that hope is important and that life isnít easy. She understands how happiness is earned and how working and being a good person brings you happiness.
  • They make a shitload of strawberry jam.
  • Anne reconciles in her mind her relationship with her parents and with Margot. She loves them.
  • July 15, 1944 is a really big entry. Anne tells about her feelings. Also, one of the biggest quotes from this book is from that day. Anne writes that "in spite of everything," she "still believes that people are really good at heart." This is a huge deal when you consider what sheís gone through and how much hatred there is outside the Annexe.
  • Anne is very hopeful.

AUGUST 1944

  • Anneís last entry is on August 1, 1944.
  • Anne is described as a "little bundle of contradictions."
  • Anne recognizes that she has two parts of her, the Anne everyone sees, and the Anne of her inner thoughts.
  • Even though Anneís had a rough time, she comes to grips with it. She finds goodness and ways to feels better.
  • Anne wonders what she will become.

THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART

  • Anneís diary ends suddenly, just like her life, when she and everyone else were caught and sent to their deaths in concentration camps. Mr. Frank survived and when Miep gave him all the stuff that was left from the Secret Annexe, he decided to publish Anneís diary so people could find hope within themselves, no matter how hard a time they were having.
  • All this stuff is real.
  • Anne manages to be funny, real, and interesting about even the most mundane things. Anneís journey from 13 to 15 is a really big deal. We get to see how her writing changes and how much more mature she becomes.
  • This is one of Eleanor Rooseveltís (former first lady) favorite books.
  • On August 4, the Annexe was found by the Gestapo (German police). Mr. Koophius went to prison then to the hospital. Mr. Kraler went to a work camp for 8 months. The Franks, the Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel all went to concentration camps.
  • The allies captured Brussels on September 3, 1944, the day the Franks got sent away. They were on one of the last trains out before everyone was saved. The conditions in these camps was unbelievable. People looked like skeletons. They had no food, hardly anything covering them, they were freezing, sick, and made to work until they bled and then they were gassed to death.
  • In May 1945 the war ended. Americans went to the concentration camps and got the rest of the people who were alive out. Anne and her family were dead except for Mr. Frank.
  • Some people who knew Anne in her last days, say she remained strong as long as she could, even after her mom died. When Margot died, Anne died a couple of days later.
  • Anne always wanted to be a journalist and, in a way, she achieved that goal.
  • The most important idea in this book is that we are all lucky to have the days that we do. Anneís spirit and hope stay alive in the pages of her diary.