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The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett

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Discussion Topic

Anne Frank's personality and qualities as revealed through her words and events in The Diary of Anne Frank

Summary:

Anne Frank's personality in The Diary of Anne Frank is revealed as optimistic, perceptive, and introspective. Her diary entries show her maturity, hopefulness, and ability to find joy despite her circumstances. She is also reflective and honest about her feelings and relationships, demonstrating a deep understanding of herself and the world around her.

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In Act 1 of The Diary of Anne Frank, how do Anne's words reveal her personality?

The play The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett premiered in 1955 and is based on the book Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Many aspects of Anne’s personality are revealed through the script’s dialogue and stage direction.

The audience first sees Anne in scene two when she enters the stage running. The stage direction describes her as “quick,” “interested in everything, mercurial in her emotions.” Mercurial means that, like mercury in a thermometer, Anne’s mood can quickly change. In her first interaction with Peter, Anne acts friendly and outgoing. She also reveals a sensitive side. She can’t burn her Star of David as Peter does because, while it has become a symbol of hate, it is still a symbol of her Jewish heritage.

Anne also shows that she is an optimist. Rather than complaining as her family first moves into the attic where they will be hiding, she tells her father, Otto Frank, that she will think of it as “a very peculiar summer boarding house.” She also shows appreciation for Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler, “our protectors.”

Anne resists traditional female standards of behavior. When her mother protests against her playing with Peter, she replies, “Who cares if it’s dignified? I don’t want to be dignified.” This contrasts with the more reserved, ladylike behavior of her older sister, Margot. Later, this contrast comes to a head when Mr. Van Daan criticizes Anne for not being more like her sister. Anne responds aggressively, saying, “I’d cut my throat first! I’d open my veins!” and goes on to describe her dreams of becoming famous in music or the arts.

Overall, Anne is a free-spirited, high-energy character who also has a softer, sensitive side, which we especially see in her interactions with her father.  

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What qualities of Anne Frank are shown through events in The Diary of Anne Frank?

At the start of Anne Frank's diary, she comes across as somewhat vain. This is seen in her entry dated Saturday, 20 June 1942, in which she refers to boys who "become enamored on the spot." This entry also refers to the fact that when she goes for ice cream, there is always a young man willing to pay for it.

Later, once Anne and her family have moved into the annex, we discover a young girl who is a typical teenager in her dislike of her mother and her hormonal sensitivity. On 30 January 1943, she describes herself "seething with rage" after an argument with her mother and expresses a desire to scream at everybody who lives in the annex.

Over and above being a typical teenage girl, however, Anne displays remarkable courage and tenacity, despite the immensely difficult situation that she and her family find themselves in. She expresses this, along with the realization of her own mortality, on 4 April 1944, with the words "I want to go on living, even after my death!"

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What qualities of Anne Frank are shown through events in The Diary of Anne Frank?

Anne was a popular and outgoing girl before the family went into hiding. Her behavior in the secret annex reflects her natural tendency to be inquisitive. Her questions sometimes drive Mr. van Daan and Mr. Dussel to distraction and they yell at her to be quiet. Mr. Frank provides Anne a diary so she will have an outlet for her thoughts.

Anne is a typical rebellious teenager and is rude to her mother; she attempts to secure her father's support of her desire to defy her mother's restrictions. She is jealous of her sister's intelligence although she does love Margot very much. At one point, exasperated, she vents her frustration about being compared to "Margot, Margot, Margot!"

Anne is kind and generous; these qualities are demonstrated when she presents Hannukah gifts to all her fellow inhabitants of the secret annex.

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