What is the internal conflict in Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl?
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl can be considered a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age story. Not only does Anne face the ups and downs of puberty and adolescence, but she also divulges her inner frustrations about growing up in her diary. Two major conflicts that Anne struggles with internally, as well as externally at times, are her relationships with her mother and with Peter. For the first part of the book, Anne reveals feeling trapped because she feels like an adult, but her mother treats her like a baby. Not only that, but she sometimes feels like the odd one out within her whole family, as shown in the following passage:
"I would have given Margot the book myself, and much more quickly, if Mummy and Daddy hadn't interfered. They took Margot's part at once, as though she were the victim of some great injustice. It's obvious that Mummy would stick up for Margot; she and Margot always do back each other up. I'm so used to that that I'm utterly indifferent to both Mummy's jawing and Margot's moods" (44).
With tensions so high, and Anne feeling outnumbered, she must write her feelings in her diary in an effort to comfort herself. Sometimes Anne does lash out to defend herself, but for the most part, she uses her diary to reveal her inner struggles with the members of her family.
In the second part of the book, Anne struggles with romantic feelings for Peter, but she cannot share those feelings with her family explicitly. In the entry entitled Monday, 6 March, 1944, Anne discusses her internal conflict about Peter as follows:
"I think a lot, but I don't say much. I am happy if I see him and if the sun shines when I'm with him. I was very excited yesterday; while I was washing my hair, I knew that he was sitting in the room next to ours. I couldn't do anything about it; the more quiet and serious I feel inside, the more noisy I become outwardly. Who will be the first to discover and break through this armor?" (167).
These internal struggles over her feelings about her mother and Peter are those that many teenage girls have. Anne strives to find a balance between what she can say and do in public as opposed to what she really wants inside. The close and non-private living quarters only add to the frustration. So, the best way to help herself is to write her private thoughts and feelings in her diary.
The Diary of Anne Frank opens on Anne's 13th birthday and ends not long after her 15th birthday. Anne begins her diary with the all the childish enthusiasm of a girl that age, however we see, as the diary goes on, that Anne goes through many changes during her time in the attic. We see her struggles as clearly and if they were our own.
The biggest internal conflict Anne faces, is the fact that she is maturing and she has to do it with little to no privacy. As she writes in her diary, we see how much Anne is growing. She is now questioning things that are more important to humanity. Where the family is hiding, there is no privacy. Anne is becoming more of a woman. She and Peter develop a close friendship, which her father is not very fond of, and Anne is forced to face the fact of what is happening to Jews in Europe. Anne wants to be known as Anne, not just a number or that she is just Jewish. She considers herself to be German, but everyone else looks at her differently, just because she is a Jew. Anne also has the internal conflict of never being to go outside. She is a young girl, but isn't allowed to go out and get fresh air. The families also have to struggle with the lack of food. The food supply is running low and the families have to come to terms with that.
Of course, these things are just a foretaste of the real horror that are to come. Anne Frank shows extreme courage in the face of incredible darkness. All Anne wanted was to be remembered for who she was, and that is exactly what we do. We remember the girl she was and we remember the horrible evil that pervaded the world.
The internal conflict with which Anne wrestles through the pages of her diary is the turmoil of maturation, the awakening of new feelings and emotions and understandings about herself and the world around her.
The impact of the changes she is sensing and feeling is amplified because of the living conditions in which she is trapped. There is minimal privacy or opportunity for calm and secure reflection about how her perceptions of and relations to her world are changing. The desires and attempts to assert her newly-found independence are confounded by the necessity of remaining undetected in the attic, surrounded by others who are concerned for their safety more than for her budding adulthood.