In Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, how  do Anne and Mrs. Van Daan get along?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Anne Franke: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne and Mrs. van Daan have some difficulty getting along. Mrs. van Daan is materialistic and demanding. Sometimes she is hard to like. At the same time, living so closely together makes getting along difficult. There are several instances that demonstrate the kind of relationship existing between Mrs. van Daan and Anne: it can sometimes be positive, and at other times, strained. At one point Anne notes:

Mrs. van Daan is unbearable. I'm continually being scolded for my incessant chatter when I'm upstairs. I simply let her words bounce right off me!

Mrs. van Daan places a great deal of importance on her things; her favorite is a fur coat given to her by her father. She doesn't have much else left, but loves her coat. When Anne accidentally spills milk on the coat, Mrs. van Daan gets very angry. She also gets mad when Anne breaks her last soup bowl. 

"Oh!" she angrily exclaimed. "Can't you be more careful? That was my last one."

Mrs. van Daan also struggles in that her son Peter and Anne spend a great deal of time together.

On the other hand, Anne can sometimes speak to Mrs. van Daan more easily than with her own mother. And when there are burglars below, Anne comforts Mrs. van Daan:

I comforted Mrs. van Daan, who was very scared. We talked about escaping and being questioned by the Gestapo, about ringing up, and being brave.

“We must behave like soldiers, Mrs. van Daan..."

Anne can, at times, enjoy herself in the company of the van Daan "contingent."

Some evenings I go to the van Daans for a little chat. We eat "mothball cookies" (molasses cookies that were stored in a closet that was mothproofed) and have a good time. 

Thrust together in fear for their lives, it is easy to imagine how these people might struggle to get along, especially a fourteen-year old and a grown woman—who did not know each other before they went into hiding.

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