Anne Frank’s pivotal memoir, The Diary of a Young Girl, gave the world a glimpse of the life of a young Jewish girl who found herself in the midst of World War II and Hitler’s plan to exterminate the Jews. Frank’s story has touched readers throughout history as she remains a hopeful young girl who is quite normal despite her unusual circumstances. During the time period that the diary is written, the Frank family has taken to hiding in an attic above a store. The social dynamics and environmental conditions described by Frank within her memoir offer an interesting insight into the developmental issues relating to traumatic experiences in childhood. Especially interesting is the continuation of a somewhat typical family dynamic under the horrible conditions described in the memoir. Though exposed to extreme hardship, the Frank family behaves like any other family; Anne has disagreements with her sister Margo, as well as frequent struggles of will with her mother.
It is Anne’s sharing of her thoughts that allows one to develop an understanding of the conditions of personal growth that she experienced during this time. The audience realizes that Anne is in grave danger. However, Anne does not dwell on her situation. She is happy to be hidden. At times, we see just how brave Anne really is as the family realizes a Nazi soldier has come to investigate whether there are hidden individuals in the attic. Though situations such as this seem counterintuitive to healthy adolescent development, Frank is able to overcome her situation and adapt to her environment in a healthy manner. Anne is, therefore, able to develop a typical relationship with her sister as well as her parents. Anne’s relationship with her father is also one that many readers can relate to; Anne feels more comfortable with her father than her mother although she loves them both (Frank, 2015, p. 36). The explanative value of Anne’s story in terms of childhood development lies in the fact that she is so open and realistic in the diary. It is striking how relatable Anne is within her memoir even though she is in such a comprising situation. Anne’s development is significantly shaped by her parents’ encouragement as well as their demand that she devote herself to schoolwork and academic achievement. Anne’s positive attitude is the central force that prevents her from developing in an unhealthy way even though she lives in an environment that would more likely than not produce negative behaviors in children and adults alike.
I find it interesting that my peer focused on Anne’s relationship with her parents and their insistence that she devotes herself to her schoolwork and academic success. Both Margo and Anne knew from an early age that education was a valued commodity in their household. Each sister enjoys reading, but there is also a firm and somewhat unwritten rule regarding schoolwork in the Frank household. Academic achievement is a high priority in the Frank home. Anne’s father, although one who has a military background, is rather gentle with her. They enjoy a loving relationship and a special closeness. One cliché regarding military men is their inability to be tender and loving with their children. This is not the case with Otto Frank. In contrast, Anne and her mother often disagree. Anne’s mother thinks she has too boisterous a personality; she believes Anne should be more refined and quiet like Margo. With all the chaos around them, the Frank family is quite normal with struggles like any modern family.
Although Anne and Margo are expected to value education and read as much as possible, the girls do not resent their parents’ insistence on academic success. They both embrace reading, and yes, Anne’s future plans do include writing books. She speaks to the diary as if the diary is a practice run for a future novel. Yes, Anne’s attitude is likely what makes audiences love her. While readers know that she is very scared at times, Anne does not allow her situation to make her bitter or resentful. She is generally quite happy, and she looks forward to a future outside the attic. Yes, I agree that she committed to the idea of being a writer because she believed that the family would survive the war and Hitler’s Final Solution. She mentions her plans several times throughout the writing. It is possible that she is making a commitment such as this as a way of coping with the crisis that she is living through. Again, by having something to look forward to, she is possibly convincing herself that she will survive the horrors outside the attic.
Frank, A. (2015). The diary of a young girl (1st ed.). New Delhi: Prakash Book Depot.