Why is Mrs. van Daan nervous in The Diary of Anne Frank?

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In The Diary of Anne Frank, Mrs. van Daan, her husband, and son move into the Secret Annex a week after Anne’s family. Her real name is Auguste van Pels, but Anne refers to her as Auguste van Daan in her diary.

Most of Anne’s descriptions of Mrs. Van Daan...

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In The Diary of Anne Frank, Mrs. van Daan, her husband, and son move into the Secret Annex a week after Anne’s family. Her real name is Auguste van Pels, but Anne refers to her as Auguste van Daan in her diary.

Most of Anne’s descriptions of Mrs. Van Daan are not kind, but she often finds herself confiding in her when she cannot talk with her own mother. Mrs. Van Daan does not like how close Anne and Peter become because she wants her son, who’s going on sixteen, talking to her and not to Anne about his problems. Anne describes the fights between the van Daans:

Mr. and Mrs. van Daan have had a terrible fight. I've never seen anything like it since Mother and Father wouldn't dream of shouting at each other like that. The argument was based on something so trivial it didn't seem worth wasting a single word on it. (September 2, 1942)

From the beginning, Anne’s descriptions of Mrs. van Daan try to stay friends but are also clear that she is wary of their new roommate. While most people brought only their most important possessions, but when Mrs. van Daan enters the annex, she’s carrying a hatbox with her. She explains that in it is not a hat, “I just don't feel at home without my chamber pot” (August 14, 1942). Anne begins to describe her as more of an instigator as she begins to flirt with Mr. Frank and then later with Alfred Dussel. Anne also grows tired of Mrs. van Daan’s endless complaining about their situation and things that they cannot control. She complains that Mrs. van Dann often hides her own supplies just to use more of her family's materials:

For the umpteenth time, Mrs. van Daan is sulking. She’s very moody and has been removing more and more of her belongings and locking them up. It’s too bad Mother doesn’t repay every van Daan "disappearing act" with a Frank "disappearing act" (September 27, 1942)

Part of Mrs. van Daan’s nervousness could come from the time that she’s living. She knows what will happen if they are found, so the prospect of being sent to the camps or killed would make anyone nervous. However, from Anne’s descriptions of her, Mrs. van Daan was most likely an anxious person before coming to the annex, so life in hiding only highlighted her anxious tendencies.

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