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The Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

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What is the moral of The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank?

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The central moral of The Diary of a Young Girl is the power of hope in horrible circumstances.

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I would be hesitant to reduce Anne Frank’s diary to one moral or to even a few morals. Anne Frank is one of the most iconic individuals in Western history and perhaps in the world. Yet remember, before Anne became an icon, she was a person. She had flaws and prejudices like any other person.

Perhaps I've inadvertently stumbled on a moral you could talk about. You could discuss how honest and truthful Anne is. Even when it makes her look bad or unfavorable, Anne writes it down. Anne doesn't seem to feel the need to repress or censure her feelings. She’s completely—sometimes cruelly—honest.

There's many examples of Anne's loyalty to her true feelings. Some are negative and some are positive. The ones that are more negative tend to link to her mom. As you might already be aware, Anne had a contentious relationship with her mom. “I only look at her as a mother,” writes Anne, “and she just doesn’t succeed in being that to me.” Anne is harsh. Yet sometimes honesty is harsh.

Of course, not all of Anne’s honesty relates to harshness. She’s also sincere and forthright about her developing sexuality and her attraction towards girls. Anne’s candidness has to lead to censorship. Her father removed some outspoken passages before it was first published in 1947. More recently, in 2013, a parent tried to get the book banned due to its explicit passages.

Besides unconditional honesty, another moral or virtue that comes to mind is "be yourself." It might sound cliche or trite, but Anne’s diary is a testament to the power of remaining true to who you are. It doesn’t seem like Anne tries to simplify or confine herself to one kind of person. Throughout her diary, Anne is sad, happy, amorous, manipulative, sweet, vindictive, selfish, generous, and more. Basically, Anne is a dynamic person. Her loyalty to her complicated, messy, ever-changing identity seems like a central virtue—or moral—to me.

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It's hard to glean a moral from what is essentially a diary (even though Anne was editing it before her death), but if one could be found in The Diary of a Young Girl, the moral would likely be the importance of hope in trying circumstances. Despite having her comfortable life taken from her and facing imminent extermination should the secret annex be discovered, Anne still has hope in the future. She continues to dream about becoming a journalist or what life will be like once the war ends. She continues her studies. She continues to wrestle with her thoughts about society, God, and human nature.

Even Anne's writing is an act driven by hope. Anne uses her diary as a conduit for her thoughts rather than bottling them up and giving into despair. Later, she decides to edit her diary for future publication when she hears on the radio that allied officials want ordinary people to document their wartime experiences. Anne believes fervently that she is not wasting her time, that she has something to say to the world.

Even Anne's declaration that people are basically good in spite of everything is a hopeful one. In the face of Nazi persecution, Anne still held out hope that the world could change. Though her diary makes one rueful that Anne's promising future was stripped from her, it stands as a testament to the hopeful nature of its creator.

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I would say that if one were to pull one moral from Anne Frank's diary, it would be that with a positive mindset and an outlet for your emotions, life can go on in even the most trying of circumstances.

Anne Frank and her family had every freedom taken away from them. From living a comfortable life in Amsterdam, they were confined, together with several others, to a tiny attic above an office. Despite the need for absolute silence during the day to avoid being discovered, Anne finds such an outlet in her friend Kitty, who is a diary that she writes in regularly. Thanks to her diary entries, we know that Anne manages to continue her journey of growth towards adulthood despite her horrendous circumstances. Life, even in the midst of hardship, went on for Anne, and she had dreams of a future which, tragically, was to be cruelly taken from her.

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I don't think that there's one specific moral in The Diary of a Young Girl; indeed, there are many. However, one of the most important is the power of the human spirit to transcend its surroundings, to rise above all manner of hardship and adversity. Along with her family, Anne is cooped-up in a claustrophobic secret annex, knowing full well that at any moment she and everyone else could be discovered by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. Yet despite this constant fear, Anne is still able to retain a profound sense of humanity amidst all the chaos and disruption. Despite her parlous situation, Anne remains a normal teenage girl, with all the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of someone her age. Though constantly aware of the terrible fate that could await her at any moment, Anne's spirit is so strong that her focus is on living a life, not brooding over death.

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