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The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett

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Summary of setting changes and major events in Act Two of The Diary of Anne Frank


In Act Two of The Diary of Anne Frank, the setting remains the Secret Annex, but tension escalates among the inhabitants. Major events include the celebration of Hanukkah, the increasing scarcity of food, and the discovery of the group's hiding place by the Nazis, which leads to their arrest. Additionally, Anne's relationship with Peter deepens during this period.

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How does the setting change from Act One to Act Two in The Diary of Anne Frank?

In Act II, it is the beginning of a new year.  It is 1944.

Act II opens with Anne explaining that a New Year has begun.  At the end of Act I it was Hanukah, and everyone was celebrating.  Now it is January, and they are celebrating the New Year with a cake Miep has brought.

Anne’s Voice. Saturday, the first of January, nineteen forty-four. Another new year has begun and we find ourselves still in our hiding place. We have been here now for one year, five months, and twenty-five days. It seems that our life is at a standstill. 

Anne is frustrated by the lack of progress in the war.  She describes the family as having changed, because everyone is getting thinner.  In fact we learn through Mr. Dussel that things get worse and worse outside, and Miep and Mr. Kraler have not been telling them everything because they don’t want them worrying.

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What are the major events in Act 2 of The Diary of Anne Frank?

In Act 2, Anne gets to know Peter better and the family faces difficult decisions about their blackmailer until they are finally caught.

Act 2 begins with a New Year’s celebration that painfully reminds the family of how long they have been in hiding.  There is a cake that predicts peace in the coming year, and the families are saddened by the fact that the war continues.  Tensions are running high, and Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan fight over selling her coat for cigarettes.

The most serious event the family faces is the presence of a blackmailer.  The blackmailer asks about Mr. Frank, and then asks more questions.

He was standing staring at the bookcase . . . your bookcase. He said he thought he remembered a door there . . . Wasn’t there a door there that used to go up to the loft? Then he told me he wanted more money. (Act 2, Scene 1)

The families decide they can do nothing but pay him.  They constantly worry that they will be turned in.

Anne and Peter become friends in this act.  In Act 1, they argued and behaved childishly.  Now they realize that they are both sensitive and have things in common.  They begin to see each other in a romantic light.  In fact, they even kiss.  Unfortunately, then the families are arrested.

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