Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction The Diary of a Young Girl Analysis
In writing to Kitty, Frank is trying to reach out to the normal world beyond her confined quarters. She misses school and her old friends. As the youngest in the secret annex, she is treated with condescension by the adults and sometimes scolded for her boisterousness. To overcome these feelings of isolation, she invents a friend in whom she can confide.
Yet, gradually, the purpose of Frank’s writing changes. She uses her letters to give Kitty—and, by extension, the readers of The Diary of a Young Girl—a graphic description of the hardships that she is forced to endure. The book provides a gripping sense of what it was like to be in hiding, trapped in a very limited and uncomfortable space, and in constant anxiety about any unusual sound from below and about making any noise that could lead to their being discovered. Frank tells of the mounting tensions among the adults, of their quarrels, and of occasional outbreaks of hysteria, particularly on the part of Mrs. Van Daan. She voices her astonishment and disapproval of what she regards as childish behavior by the grown-ups. Although the content of The Diary of a Young Girl is often grim, the book is not by any means depressing. Frank maintains her good humor, her optimism, and her impish sense of fun despite attacks of doubt and fear. In many ways, the book is inspiring because it shows a young girl coping with adverse circumstances and upholding a positive attitude in the face of the daily horrors around her.
For a young adult audience, The Diary of a Young Girl has two main sources of interest. First, it gives an excellent insight into what occurred during World War II in the Nazi-occupied countries. Frank’s realistic account of her life illuminates the historical situation more than any secondary sources could, as her diary is an intimate and intense record of her own experiences and reactions. Readers come to know what it was like to be in her position.
Second, beyond this interest specific to its time, The Diary of a Young Girl is also of lasting importance as a document of adolescence. Despite her imprisonment in a strange environment, Frank shows all the characteristics normally associated with the difficult transition from childhood to the verge of adulthood. She rebels against her parents, especially her mother, whose well-meant but not always tactful advice she resents and rejects. She is ambivalent toward her elder sister, who has a quiet, obedient temperament quite different from her own. For a while, she is close to her father, whom she admires, but eventually she begins to grow away from him as...
(The entire section is 677 words.)