Diary of a Young Girl

by: Anne Frank

January 28, 1944 (evening)– March 11, 1944

Confinement in the annex has changed Peter as well. He opens up to Anne emotionally, whereas he previously used physical force instead of connecting with other people. Anne finds in Peter the confidant for whom she had been longing. She becomes aware of her feelings for the opposite sex, a new aspect of maturity and development as a young woman that changes her entire experience of living in the annex.

With life in the annex becoming more tedious and oppressive, Peter’s empathy and companionship provide Anne with significant emotional and mental relief. Since her physical life is so static and confined, Anne instead begins to look forward to emotional changes such as the development of her feelings for Peter. Because of the physical confinement of the annex, the evolution of Peter and Anne’s relationship is on display for everyone else to see. As Peter becomes an object of desire for Anne, the adults begin to comment on the appropriateness of the relationship, and Mrs. van Daan constantly teases Anne. The lack of privacy forces Anne to confront issues with her family and sexuality long before she would have under normal circumstances.

Anne’s growing maturity is also evident in the increased gravity of her discussions of her life and the war. For the first time, Anne writes seriously about the possibility of her own death, especially as her morale worsens. At the same time, she dreams about life after the war and about her great fortune in having a hiding place. She has become highly introspective and insightful about her own nature, and she begins to reflect on her past development and organize it into stages. Anne uses her diary like a literary timeline of her inner development, which she analyzes and critiques. By criticizing her own past actions and thoughts, she shows her capacity for personal growth and self-awareness, two important aspects of coming-of-age. Anne considers the possibility of her death, but she does not fully come to terms with the fact that the future may not come for her. Though maturing into a young woman, she still retains a measure of youthful innocence and idealism.

Anne and Peter also confront their identity as young Jews, a subject that Anne rarely touches upon in her diary. Anne does not consider the possibility of converting to Christianity and is shocked when Peter says that in the future he will hide the fact that he is Jewish. Anne is proud that she is Jewish and remains optimistic that the Jews will eventually be rewarded for their faith and not persecuted. Peter, however, is ashamed that he is Jewish and wants to separate himself from his past. The discussion that the two share and their different conclusions represent two common but opposite reactions to the Holocaust: a strengthening of Jewish identification versus a willful weakening of an association with Judaism.