I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.
Anne writes this on the inside cover of her diary just after she receives it for her thirteenth birthday. At the time, she feels that she does not have any true confidants, which makes her feel lonely and misunderstood. Anne does, however, have many friends and admirers, and she is a playful, amusing, and social young girl. Thus, her sentiments in this passage may seem odd and a bit exaggerated, but she later explains that even though she has friends, she is never fully able to open up to them. Anne finds that she and her friends talk only about trivial things, even when she has deeper things on her mind that she wishes to share. For example, she never broaches the subjects of her developing body or Germany’s occupation of Holland. Having a diary—which she addresses as “Kitty,” like a friend—enables her to express her thoughts without fear of being criticized by others. Anne’s relationship with her diary helps comfort her through her insecure, lonely, and fearful time in hiding.
I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds. . . . [They loom] before us like an impenetrable wall, trying to crush us, but not yet able to. I can only cry out and implore, “Oh ring, ring, open wide and let us out!”
Anne records this vivid image on November 8, 1943, after living in the annex for more than a year. As the war rages on and people throughout Europe suffer, Anne is starting to become depressed and pessimistic about her family’s chances of survival. She alternates between imagining what her future will be like and fearing that she and her family will be discovered at any time. Anne’s writing becomes more metaphoric as she tries to express her fears and the anxiety and desperation that plague the residents of the annex. Nature is perhaps what Anne misses most about the outside world, so it follows that she describes her feeling of claustrophobia and entrapment with an image of nature. The image of blue sky suggests freedom. Dark clouds, signifying the oppression and restrictions on the Jews, cover the sky, suffocating Anne and the annex’s other inhabitants. Anne’s blue sky represents liberation. Both the sky and freedom remain beyond her reach.
I sometimes wonder if anyone will ever understand what I mean, if anyone will ever overlook my ingratitude and not worry about whether or not I’m Jewish and merely see me as a teenager badly in need of some good, plain fun.
In this passage from December 24, 1943, Anne reminds us that she is just a normal young girl who has been forced into extraordinary circumstances. She willingly makes sacrifices and deals with the restrictions of the annex without much complaint because she knows that she is more fortunate than her friends who have already been arrested and sent to concentration camps. This attitude demonstrates Anne’s remarkable maturity, but it clearly takes its toll on her spirit. Aside from wanting to return to the freedoms and comforts she had before the war, Anne simply wants to experience a normal childhood. She does not want to live in a world that places such significance on where she is from, what her religion is, or whether she behaves well with adults. She wants to be in a place where she does not have to worry whether she will live or whether her friends are suffering. The diary has such emotional impact because we see Anne not as a saint, but as a normal girl with real human feelings and imperfections who falls victim to the tragedy of the Holocaust.
It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.
Anne writes this on July 15, 1944, less than one month before the Nazis arrest her and her family, sending them all to the concentration camps. This is perhaps the most well-known quotation from Anne’s diary because it is a brazen expression of optimism in the face of imminent and incomprehensible cruelty. The passage also provides a brief glimpse into Anne’s mind during her last days in the annex and demonstrates how much she has changed from when her family first went into hiding. At the beginning of her diary, Anne would likely never have had the self-insight to make such a sweeping statement. After two years of growth while living in extremely difficult circumstances, however, she is able to find within herself a core of hope and optimism. This passage is an example of Anne’s occasional and brilliant glimpses of lucidity and insight into her horrific situation.
I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if . . . if only there were no other people in the world.
This statement ends Anne Frank’s last diary entry, written on August 1, 1944. Anne does not intend to end her diary at this point: to her, it is just the end of a regular day of hiding in the annex. However, this turns out to be her last entry because the Nazis arrest her and her family just three days later. It serves as a fitting conclusion to Anne’s development and personal growth during her time in the annex. Since her time in hiding coincides with puberty, Anne constantly struggles with her identity and her evolving sense of self. She tries to figure out her role within the annex and how she fits into the war and suffering in the outside world. Anne believes that she is a good person, but she also realizes that because of her confinement, she is unable to reach her true potential until she is released back to her normal life after the war. Anne’s words resonate even more profoundly because we know that within months these “other people” kill her in the concentration camp. Anne is never allowed to reach her full potential and never gets the chance to become the good person she has in mind.