How was Anne Frank different from a common teenager?How was Anne Frank different from a common teenager?

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lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Having read the diary and the play based upon it, the thing that strikes me most about Anne is that she is very, very much like my own daughter, who is approximately the same age Anne was when the family was arrested.  The worlds the two girls inhabit are obviously quite different, but so many things are the same.  On the surface, the similarities are not unusual or terribly interesting.  Both Anne then, and my own daughter now, like reading books and writing stories.  Anne is interested in her movie stars; my daughter is interested in which teen actors will be playing the characters in her favorite novel-turned-movies.  However, on an emotional level, the similarities continue.  Anne and her mother are frequently at cross-purposes, as I frequently am with my own daughter.  Both girls keep journals, both girls are trying to find their own voices, and both girls are less than impressed with the adults around them and the choices these adults have made, both as individuals, and as part of the greater society.  With that condescension, of course, comes the idealism of youth, and the notion that it won't, in fact, be that difficult to get out there and change the world, given the chance.  Of course, Anne never got a chance--or so she thought.  Probably no one would argue that her words haven't had an impact on the world, after all.   

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Frank and her family go into hiding for their safety when she is just 13 years old.  Like most teenage girls, Anne loves to write her secrets in her diary, a gift for her birthday.

What makes Anne Frank different from most teenagers is that she found a sense of fulfillment and joy from her writing.  Not only did she write her thoughts to her imaginary friend, Kitty, but she also spent a great deal of time writing stories to entertain herself.

 "She is sensitive and intelligent, and, surprisingly, she is rarely bored while in hiding. She occupies her mind with self-analysis, writing fiction and nonfiction, and pursuing a wide range of studies."

Most modern teenagers get bored very quickly if they don't have constant changing stimuli around them.  Anne had to content herself with very little. 

What makes Anne different from other teenage girls is that at a very young age, she decided what she wanted to do with her life.  And, even in the worst conditions, she held onto her dream of becoming of Journalist after the war. 


reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What makes The Diary of Anne Frank so poignant (touching), is that Anne was not any different from a typical teenager. Her feelings, emotions, and needs are the same as most teenage girls. So, imagine if a teenage girl today was banned from school, made to wear a Star as a mark of her religion and social standing branding her as an outcast, forced to leave all personal items behind except for minimal clothing including her beloved pet cat, leave her home and go into hiding for years in a cramped annex with the constant fear of capture or, even worse, death. Anne has the typical teenage arguments with her mother and sister, wants to spend time with her friends and be independant, and hopes to fall in love, just as most teenage girls. If Anne had not been like most teenagers, this story would not have the relevance or impact it still has today. In this diary, the reader is able to glimpse what happens to a teenage girl who is deprived of her life and goes through her journey with strength and honor until the end.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the sentiments behind the posts featured, but I probably fall more in line with the previous post. Her social setting of Europe during the Holocaust carries with it a set of conditions that differentiates Anne from other teens.  Having said that, I think that she has common links with other teens that were pitted in similar situations.  Recently, Janet Langhart Cohen wrote a play as a dialogue between Anne Frank and Emmett Till, exposing how their experiences of enduring the silence of their voices might bring common threads to them and others in similar predicaments.  The play highlights that children born into political and social strife have an additional burden that differentiates them from others.  Having said this, the play's point was to drive home the teens' experiences as a way to bring home to modern teens and others the importance of hearing all voices and silencing none.  Through the lessons of Anne and Emmett, one hopes that common threads are forged, despite their experiences, of which we can never fully appreciate.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To which "common teenagers" is Anne being compared?

Given the cultural and historical context of Anne's life, she may not be so exceptional socially, at least.  She writes of hating her mother, she is disgusted with the old dentist and his fussy ways, she loves confiding in her friend "Kitty," and she senses her sexual awakening.  (Of course, Anne's father did delete the sexual references and the hatred for the mother.)

As a Jew in World War II, she clearly differs from any American teen, of course.  From her records, the reader is struck by her intelligence and creativity, which is uncommon, although there are many creative people among her race as we need only look to Hollywood, Broadway, and the literary world for proof.  Yet, there is this maturity, which Post #4 so convincingly mentions, which seems to transcend any teenager of any race.  This does, indeed, seem to be her greatest difference.

kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think this has been mentioned, but another thing that makes Anne so different is not only what she went through, but the fact that she is SO mature...mature beyond her years.  She wrote so eloquently and with such maturity of style and diction, in my opinion.  It is amazing how mature she appears through her words, despite being in a horrifying situation.

Read the study guide:
The Diary of a Young Girl

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