How does Mr. van Daan spoil the celebration in The Diary of Anne Frank?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mr. Van Daan spoils the celebration by telling Peter to get rid of his cat.

In Act 1, Scene 5, Anne tries to cheer everyone up with a Hanukah celebration.  She even makes gifts for everyone.  Things are going well, until Peter decides to play a joke on Mr. Dussel.  He pretends to have his cat under his shirt, and Dussel complains. Peter reveals that there is no cat.

Mr. Dussel is embarrassed, and says Peter’s clothes are enough because of the fur that’s on them.

Mr. Van Daan. Don’t worry. You won’t be bothered anymore. We’re getting rid of it.  (Act 1, Scene 5)

Peter gets very upset.  His cat is his best friend, and a cause of contention between himself and his father.  His father claims he spends too much time with the cat, and that the cat eats all their food.  When his father tells him they are getting rid of his cat, Peter explodes.

Peter (to MR. VAN DAAN). If he goes, I go. 

Mr. Van Daan tells his son to go.  Of course, his mother intervenes.  She says that no one is going anywhere.

Despite the difficulty of living in hiding, the families try to keep a semblance of normal life.  However, as this scene demonstrates there are potential tensions everywhere.  It only takes one little incident to turn a celebration into a fight.

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