The Diary of Anne Frank Cover Image

The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett

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Student Question

What are three examples of imagery in "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Goodrich and Hackett?

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In the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, there are many examples of imagery.

The following is a definition of this literary device:

Imagery is used in literature to refer to descriptive language that evokes sensory experience [or a mental image]...

In Act One, scene one, Mr. Frank describes to Miep why he cannot stay in Amsterdam. The war is over, and Mr. Frank, having survived the Holocaust, has returned to where his family and others hid, trying to escape the Nazis. Meip helped them then, and stands with Mr. Frank now as he is surrounded by memories of the place. What especially stands out for me is the image I get of the street organ. (This was a mechanical device that had songs stored on it that would play as the organ grinder turned a crank to make the machinery to turn and play music.)

I can't stay in Amsterdam, Miep. It has too many memories for me. Everywhere there's something…the house we lived in…the school…that street organ playing out there…

In scene two, there are other examples of imagery. The play has moved into the past, three years prior, when the Franks, Van Daans, etc., moved into what would later be called the Secret Annex. This image is actually amusing when one considers the fur coat in the heat and the cat. Mr. Van Daan says:

It's a wonder we weren't arrested, walking along the streets…Petronella with a fur coat in July…and that cat of Peter's crying all the way.

Anne describes what her friend Jopie will find going to Anne's house and seeing things left half-finished—probably a common enough occurrence as people fled or went into hiding during the German occupation.

I wonder what [Jopie]'ll think when she telephones and there's no answer?…Probably she'll go over to the house…I wonder what she'll think…we left everything as if we'd suddenly been called away…breakfast dishes in the sink…beds not made…

Anne describes the feeling of going into hiding. The concept is not one she could fully appreciate until she was not allowed to enter the offices downstairs after dark or even listen to the radio. As time goes on, a clearer sense of "hiding" emerges, and with the limitations, also comes a fear of discovery.

I expect I should be describing what it feels like to go into hiding. But I really don't know yet myself. I only know' it's funny never to be able to go outdoors…never to breathe fresh air…never to run and shout and jump. It's the silence in the nights that frightens me most. Every time I hear a creak in the house, or a step on the street outside, I'm sure they're coming for us.

Perhaps especially because the story is told in play form, imagery allows the audience to better understand not only the plot, but the actions of the actors that are "telling" that story.

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