The Diary of a Young Girl Cover Image

The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank
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In an entry dated July 15, 1944, Anne writes the following:

"in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again."

How do excerpts like this one affect readers of the diary?

Expert Answers

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Anne Frank's diary is an affecting work that shows a teenager experiencing all the trials of adolescence under a horrific circumstance: hiding from the Nazis for two years in a safe room with her family. Students especially can relate to Anne because she articulates genuine and familiar feelings of people her age. Readers cannot help but be mindful that that Anne was a real person, who did eventually die in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Reading any excerpt from the diary therefore is moving, because we are constantly reminded, with each passing day in her diary, that she will eventually be captured.

This particular excerpt is poignant because Anne is courageously facing down dangerous happenings with a fresh and optimistic grace. We are compelled to think about why she said that "in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart," because we know that Anne's trust and hope in the goodness of people seems misplaced and yet somehow transcendent. Reading the diary raises many emotions, including empathy, admiration, anger, and sadness.

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