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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank
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How did Anne Frank describe herself in The Diary of a Young Girl?

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Anne describes herself early in the diary as somewhat superficial. She says that she has few true friends because she cannot bring herself to talk about serious things with any of them. This, in fact, is why she says she's keeping the diary. She acknowledges that she sometimes talks too...

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Anne describes herself early in the diary as somewhat superficial. She says that she has few true friends because she cannot bring herself to talk about serious things with any of them. This, in fact, is why she says she's keeping the diary. She acknowledges that she sometimes talks too much, recording early in the diary that she had to do a writing assignment on being a "chatterbox."

She also describes herself as a person who needs to be loved, especially by her parents (and by her father in particular). She says throughout the diary, especially as time advances, that she feels misunderstood by the adults, and she once writes that she feels the "reproaches" of her mother and Mrs. Van Daan. It is clear from her account that her outgoing nature runs afoul of what the adults view as ideal womanhood, and Anne repeatedly makes it clear that this leads to personal conflict. She writes, after one of many battles with her mother, that she is "stuck with the character I was born with, and yet I'm sure I'm not a bad person."

As time goes on, Anne is changed, both through a natural maturation process and by the strain of war and of living in hiding for so long. She observes that she is "strong" and that she "can carry most burdens alone." She also begins to describe her ambitions to her diary, particularly her desire to become a journalist or some other kind of writer. She soon comes to a different realization about her parents's treatment of her, claiming that she has been "spoiled rotten" by them. She also draws a distinction between her "carefree" exterior and a more "serious" inner self that she fears is not understood by others.

Overall, she characterizes herself as highly self-aware and complex, even if she is always convinced her friends and family do not recognize it.

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Anne Frank's diary is an open and guileless account of a young girl's experience, and though her words reveal much about her personality and her interests, she rarely describes herself in a direct way. Three clear descriptions of herself that Anne provides in her diary include her attractiveness to boys, her tendency towards talkativeness, and her ambition to be a good student.

Before moving to the secret annex, Anne writes in her diary of her many admirers. She describes in detail their efforts to catch a glimpse of her, and she writes of specific "beaus." At this time, Anne also writes about the punishments she has received because she talks too much in class. She notes that her teacher calls her a "chatterbox," but because she writes such cogent essays about this particular quality of hers, the teacher is endeared to her habits and allows her to chat in class from then on.

Anne is clearly ambitious and confident in her own intelligence—as evidenced by her pronouncement that she wants to be a good student and in her critiques of her classmates who aren't as smart as she is. When she is in the annex, she writes about taking a brief break from schoolwork, planning to start tutoring sessions with her beloved father in a few months' time.

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Anne Frank described herself as "a bundle of contradictions." In her last diary entry from Tuesday, August 1, 1944, she states that she rejects other people's opinions of her and that she often feels like she knows best and must have the last word in a conversation or fight; she recognizes that these are antagonistic and unpleasant characteristics. That being said, Anne also recognizes that she has many good qualities, including a sense of cheerfulness, the ability to find joy in the world around her, and an appreciation for humor and lightness.

Anne sees these contradictions as rivaling components of herself and is fearful that she will be rejected or labeled as "ridiculous and sentimental" if she shows the world her vulnerability and sensitivity. Anne has a reputation of "being boy-crazy as well as a flirt, a smart aleck and a reader of romances," who "laughs, gives a flippant reply, shrugs her shoulders and pretends she doesn't give a darn." She thinks of her inner self as deeper, purer, but also weaker; the nice Anne has "never made a single appearance, though she almost always takes the stage when [she is] alone." 

Anne describes this back-and-forth best as follows:

If I'm being completely honest, I'll have to admit that it does matter to me, that I am trying very hard to change myself, but that I'm always up against a more powerful enemy.

This enemy is Anne's public persona: the girl who rivals the sensitive and thoughtful young woman who is revealed in her diary. 

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