What is a summary of The Diary of A Young Girl?

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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the journaled writings of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family (The Franks--Otto, her father; Edith, her mother; and Margot, her older sister), the Van Daan family (Hermann, Otto's business partner; Auguste, his wife; and Peter, their son), and a dentist, Mr. Dussel (whose real name was Fritz Pfeffer) in a secret annex in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. All entries in this journal are addressed to an unknown person or character named Kitty, who is intended to serve as Anne's most trusted friend and confidante. The diary begins on June 12th, 1942, with Anne's first remarks: 

I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support. 

The first formal entry occurs two days later, in which Anne describes the events of her birthday and her excitement at receiving the gift of this journal. The entries continue for the next two years, as Anne details the triumphs and tribulations of living in the annex. She describes the extremely mundane, noting everything from her limited daily routine to the bathroom habits of the other occupants. She also takes great care to note the evolution of her relationships with the others, including her tensions with her mother and Margot, her conflicted feelings and eventual attraction to Peter, and her deep respect for her father. Anne also acknowledges many of the other difficulties of spending her teenage years in confinement, from the scarcity of resources to learning to understand herself (her personality, her sexuality, her identity, her means of communication) under the watchful eyes of others. The final entry occurs on August 1, 1944, in which Anne keeps "trying to find out what I'd like to be and what I could be if... if only there were no other people in the world."

Ultimately, The Diary of A Young Girl is a stirring portrait of a family driven to desperate measures by a senseless war, but also of the budding adulthood of a very sensitive young woman with a complex internal life. 

Read the study guide:
The Diary of a Young Girl

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