Homework Help

What is the universal theme of The Diary Of Anne Frank?  

user profile pic

phantomstar | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:28 AM via web

dislike 2 like

What is the universal theme of The Diary Of Anne Frank?

 

5 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

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

Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:43 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 2 like

With any great work of "L"iterature, I would always try to steer from the idea of "the universal theme."  I think that you can find much in the way of many powerful themes of the work.  One theme could be how Anne grows up throughout the course of the work.  Pay attention to how Anne changes from the first entry to the last entry.  The individual struggles, the collective challenges, and the questioning of reality within both are elements that are applicable to the lives of many adolescents.  Another theme is the clear voice of justice in a world of injustice.  I think that you can find this at many points in the novel where Anne develops the courage to speak her mind, not capitulating to fear.   These are themes that help to make the work an enduring one.

user profile pic

fernholz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 30, 2009 at 8:43 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 2 like

Many themes are presented in The Diary of Anne Frank. A couple universal themes include suffering, coming of age, and identity. Like anyone, Anne endures suffering, though a little more harshly than other children her age. Children all over the world may suffer if they lose a loved one, have a disease, or are abused/neglected; therefore, this is a universal theme. Another universal theme includes coming of age. We can actually put ourselves in Anne's shoes and think back to when we were adolescents. Everyone has to go through the awkard pubescent stage and Anne helps us relate. Along with puberty comes a sense of identity. Anne is trying to find her place in the world and figure things out. She, like all of us, is still learning about life. These are all universal themes, because children from all over the world go through the same situations.

user profile pic

coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:28 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 2 like

One interpretation of the universal theme in 'The Diary Of Ann Frank' is the way her book survives forever as a lasting testament to the idea of 'Good.' Yes, evil was seen to win out against Ann's family and thousands of others throughout the world in the short term, but Ann was blessed also to see good done in her short lifetime - sacrifice,risk,offering refuge,moral support and kindness. Sadly, in the end these small and great acts of bravery weren't enough to save her but they happened and shine out as beacons forever in the fight against power corruption and evil. This is important because humankind needs the concept and emotion of 'Hope.' Without it, we would be consumed in a whirlpool of despair and never have the courage to stand up against tyrants. In the end, evil always hurts it's perpetrators as they are like scorpions boxed into a corner and stinging themselves to death - they damage their own personalities/souls. Ann's diary as a testament to the power of good versus evil in terms of infinity,not just the short-term of a life-span, stands out in it's incorrigible and bright presentation of the truth of the good that is in humankind.

user profile pic

natashasfortune | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 30, 2009 at 8:38 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 1 like

When my students read this novel or the play version of it, they come up with many themes.  akannan gave many examples and she is correct: there are so many themes in this work, as well as all works you will encounter.  Other great themes Anne teaches readers is to never give up hope, always stay positive, and see the good in all people.  One of her most famous quotes is "I truly believe that people are really good at heart."

user profile pic

dainlie | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 30, 2009 at 10:39 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 1 like

Though it is a non fiction piece, the reader can use the same steps to find the theme as one does in fiction. Who is the protagonist? What is the conflict? How does the character change? How do they resolve the conflict? The title also sometimes hints at theme. The theme must be an entire statement, not a phrase. The theme statement cannot be too specific but must be general enough to apply to all cultures of the world, a universal theme. A theme must also not be preachy; instead, it is a general universal truth, not a lecture on morality. (A motif is a recurring idea and should not be confused with a theme statement.) When the reader answers all the questions above, it become apparent that the universal theme is what Anne, herself came to understand.

Though there are evil individuals in the world, people are generally and innately good.

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes