Based on the play version "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Goodrich and Hackett, is Mrs. Frank justified in her desire to expell the Van Daans?

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

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I think that it is difficult to really pass strong judgments against anyone in the Frank diary.  I would strongly advise against being able to do so because it is nearly impossible to place oneself in this setting and say that moral clarity is absolute.  I think that this is what makes the study of the historical context of the work so agonizing.  There was little clarity of what to do.  Mrs. Frank's background of privilege and wealth as well as her own dispositions did not exactly converge with living life in the annexe and in the conditions of hiding and concealment.  The stress brought on by the outside world and the conditions within it helped to justify Edith Frank to demand the expulsion of the Van Daans.  Certainly, there is a dramatic counterpoint to this when Mr. Frank says "We don’t need the Nazis to destroy us. We’re doing it ourselves.’’  In this light, Mrs. Frank's actions brings to light how the line between self- preservation and self- sacrifice was fine, indeed.  It was one that individuals in the time period walked on a constant basis.  I think that one can make the case that she was justified, as she wanted she and her family to remain hidden and remain alive.  Yet, an equally compelling case can be made on the other side of this to suggest that the real terror of the Nazis was to have the targets of their aggression replicate the same torment on others, continuing the cycle of dehumanization.

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