Father has been home a lot lately. There’s nothing for him to do at the office; it must be awful to feel you’re not needed.
Shortly before the Frank family goes into hiding, Anne writes in her diary that her father has been home more often lately, likely due to the escalation of the war. Her lament that “it must be awful to feel you’re not needed” shows how her feelings toward her father are different from those toward her mother and sister. As she feels closer to him, she feels empathy rather than indifference or annoyance at his presence.
The former is the most modest person at the table. He always looks to see whether the others have been served first. He needs nothing for himself; the best things are for the children.
As Anne describes their seating arrangements during dinnertime in the Annex, she writes about how different her father seems from the other adults. Unlike the others, he behaves in a selfless and quiet way and appears to be the only person who does not intentionally start fights or only look out for themselves. Her short description of him here shows why she admires him so much.
To Father, peeling potatoes is not a chore, but precision work. When he reads, he has a deep wrinkle in the back of his head. But when he’s preparing potatoes, beans or vegetables, he seems to be totally absorbed in his task.
Anne records an observation she made while peeling potatoes with her father. The others in the Annex see such a task as an annoying chore, and Anne and Mr. Dussel argue about the best way to get the job done. Otto, on the other hand, seems completely at peace and focused while peeling potatoes, happy to have something to occupy his hands and mind. This scene shows how calm and level-headed Otto appears compared to the others.
It’s different with Father. When I see him being partial to Margot, approving Margot’s every action, praising her, hugging her, I feel a gnawing ache inside, because I’m crazy about him. I model myself after Father, and there’s no one in the world I love more.
After Anne and Margot fight, Edith defends Margot and scolds Anne. Anne writes that while she is used to this treatment from her mother, such a situation hurts more when Otto also takes Margot’s side. Anne strives to be like Otto and does not want to be like Margot, so she struggles when she sees him favoring Margot over herself. However, this sense of fairness is part of what makes up Otto’s personality.
It sounds crazy, since Father’s the only one who’s given me a sense of confidence and made me feel as if I’m a sensible person. But he overlooked one thing: he failed to see that this struggle to triumph over my difficulties was more important to me than anything else.
As Anne writes about a book she read on modern young women, she reflects on her relationship with her parents and the loneliness she has felt despite being well taken care of. She knows that she has kept a part of herself hidden from her family, and that part includes her self-awareness of her flaws. Anne had a good relationship with her father, but even he could not see past the front she put on.