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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank
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As we read Anne’s diary we realize that she becomes more knowledgeable about many things: human nature, human sexuality, politics, the ongoing war, advanced vocabulary, religion, and philosophy, to name a few. Explain how Anne acquires her knowledge despite the constrictions of living in the annex based on details from The Diary of a Young Girl.

Anne acquires knowledge about politics, the war, and world events from helpers like Miep and the news radio, but she learns academics from her father. In terms of sexuality, she learns about this as she gets her period and interacts with Peter. She also learns about society and religion from her parents and celebrating Hanukkah.

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Anne wanted to become a journalist when she grew up, and this is evident because she wrote like one in her diary. She reported on wartime events such as battles and political changes based on what she heard from the news on the radio, what their helpers such as Miep told them, and what she heard outside the annex (such as planes flying overhead). Then, because Anne was lucky enough to go through puberty while in hiding, she wrote about how her body changed and the sexual thoughts that she had experienced previously and with Peter. For example, in her entry dated 5 January 1944, she says the following:

Each time I have a periodand that has only been three timesI have the feeling that in spite of all the pain, unpleasantness, and nastiness, I have a sweet secret. (130)

This shows that Anne is very curious of her physical body as it is connected to her mental, emotional, and sexual awareness. Anne most likely learned that having a period means that she is able to bear children at that point, which could make a young girl wonder about becoming a mother and sharing that space in her body with a child. However, Anne proves that she is a normal teenager who is curious about her body because she discusses sleeping over at a friend's house and wanting to touch the other girl's breasts in the same chapter.

Later, Anne wonders what it is like to kiss Peter. When she does kiss Peter, she experiences new feelings with sexuality but also confronts a moral question based on what she was taught by her parentswho are active, religious Jewsas well as what it means to be a young lady in early-twentieth century society. The following quote explains this conflict within her:

Do you think that Daddy and Mummy would approve of my sitting and kissing a boy on a divana boy of seventeen and a half and a girl of just under fifteen? I don’t really think they would, but I must rely on myself over this ... I know almost for certain that Margot would never kiss a boy unless there had been some talk of an engagement or marriage, but neither Peter nor I have anything like that in mind. I’m sure too that Mummy never touched a man before Daddy. What would my girl friends say about it if they knew that I lay on Peter’s arms, my heart against his chest, my head on his shoulder and with his head against mine! (212)

As far as how she learned advanced vocabulary, Anne's father home-schooled the girls as best as he could, and Anne also edited her journal extensively with the hopes of publishing parts of it later. Then, as part of her journalist nature, she would share news about the war and politics, such as the following from Tuesday, 3 August, 1943:

Political news excellent. In Italy the Fascist party has been banned. The people are fighting the Fascists in many placeseven the army is actually taking part in the battle. Can a country like that wage war against England? We've just had a third air raid, I clenched my teeth together to make myself feel courageous. (95)

Anne covered so many different topics over the course of the two years she and her family were in hiding! Because she revised and edited her writing, she showed just how serious she was about becoming a journalist and possible novelist, if she were ever given the chance to grow up and go after her dreams.

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