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One theme in The Diary of Anne Frank is that human growth involves pain.  How is this...

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barbarasackett | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 30, 2009 at 9:55 PM via web

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One theme in The Diary of Anne Frank is that human growth involves pain.  How is this theme illustrated by Anne's relationship with mother?

How does the plight of those outside the annex contribute to the theme?  Please help their is so much in diary hard to figure out   Thanks So Much

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 30, 2009 at 10:39 PM (Answer #1)

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The connection between Anne and her mother represents how the experiences and conflicts of adolescence possess a sense of universality despite conditions that should never become universal.  Being hidden away in the attic does not prevent challenges between mother and daughter.  Part of this might be generational, as Anne is younger and believes that she has the right to live the way she wishes to do so.  Mrs. Frank represents the traditional notion of women which suggests that outward displays of defiance and emotion is not in line with what her role is meant to be.  Anne and her mother battle over opinions about friends and loyalties, and while Anne seeks to have her voice heard, especially towards the middle and end of the novel, her mother seeks to make peace and ensure that everything represents a sense of calm and normalcy.  This is challenged with the conditions outside of the annex, filled with insecurity, and constant changing and doubt.  It is hard for this to not impact their relationships, and given the fact that Anne identified more with her father, conflict with her mother seemed almost inevitable.  Anne's conflicts with her mother at a time when she experienced growth from a girl to a young woman throughout the diary illustrate that the process of adolescence involves some level of pain and discomfort.  Ideally, once this process has been undergone, some level of reconciliation or restoration of the relationships happen afterwards.  Yet, this could not be the case for Anne and her mother, as the Nazis went to many lengths to ensure that a sense of normalcy could not be achieved.

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