When there is a conflict of person versus self in a work of literature, this usually means that there is an internal struggle being fought within someone's mind against him or herself. In "The Diary of Anne Frank ," Anne, Mr. Van Daan, and Peter can be seen struggling...
When there is a conflict of person versus self in a work of literature, this usually means that there is an internal struggle being fought within someone's mind against him or herself. In "The Diary of Anne Frank," Anne, Mr. Van Daan, and Peter can be seen struggling within themselves to fight back certain urges. First, Anne struggles with herself to behave more like an adult; then, Mr. Van Daan struggles to control his urge to smoke and to steal food; and finally, Peter fights to control his temper with his father.
In act 1, scene 4, Anne speaks to her father about her struggle to behave better. She has just rejected her mother's comforting love and made her cry. Her father tells her that making her mother cry is not proper behavior. Anne reveals her personal conflict by saying the following:
"Oh, Pim, I was horrible, wasn't I? And the worst of it is, I can stand off and look at myself doing it and know it's cruel and yet I can't stop doing it. What's the matter with me? Tell me. Don't say it's just a phase! Help me."
Pim tells her that she must find the answer within herself. Parents can be good examples, he explains, but ultimately she must decide to behave better.
Next, Mr. Van Daan not only struggles through the play worried about where he will get his next cigarette to fuel his addiction, but in act 2, scene 3, he is caught stealing food in the middle of the night. Everyone in the annex is furious at him. Mrs. Frank threatens to throw him and his wife out because his actions show that he is low enough to steal bread from children. Mr. Van Daan doesn't seem remorseful until Miep arrives with news that the Allies have invaded Normandy. Then Mr. Van Daan admits his fault and internal conflict by saying, "To steal bread from children! . . . No one is as bad as me!"
Finally, in act 1, scene 5, Peter puts up with his father's verbal abuse throughout the whole play. When Peter accidentally lets a light crash to the floor while a burglar is on the premises, he puts up with more abuse from his father. For example, as Peter goes to help Mr. Frank, his father pushes him violently away and tells him he's caused enough problems already. At this, Peter picks up a chair and threatens to hit his father with it. Fortunately, he puts the chair down without any further incident, but Peter's violent demonstration implies that he struggles to respect his father and control his temper at the same time.