An Analysis of Anne Frank’s Use of Epistolary in the Portrayal of Her Coming-of-age in the Diary of a Young Girl
The epistolary movement is a well-known literary wave as it encompasses the use of letters, as a form of storytelling. Epistolary novels are usually written in first person limited narrative voice as they reflect on the personal experiences, opinions, and feelings of one character and create a subjective view of the other characters. During the 18th century, authors perceived the use of the epistolary technique as a way to provide a realistic aspect to their literary compositions (Curran). Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is among the most enduring and unquestionable biographies written in letters illustrating Jews’ martyrdom during the Holocaust. Derived from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “kaustos” (burned) also referred to as the Soah, the Holocaust was a historical era marked by the decimation of millions of Jews. Indeed, during World War II, Nazi Germany, aided by its collaborators targeted and exterminated more than half of the Jewish communities in Germany due to racial conflicts. One of the main themes covered in the autobiography is the coming-of-age of the protagonist Anne Frank. With this in mind, Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl is considered as a bildungsroman as it deals with the continuous process of self-discovery along with the moral and psychological changes linked with the protagonist’s path to maturation. According to literary critic Judith Thurman, the title of Anne’s novel “corresponds to what is in fact is an epistolary autobiography of exceptional caliber. It takes the full measure of a complex, evolving character” (Thurman, as cited by Prose). Indeed, the tenacity of the human soul drives the young girl to grow and thrive even in atrocious circumstances. Anne slowly becomes dominated by a struggle to create a stable and permanent sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance. Although this may be true, in her diary, Anne does not get to experience the acme of her coming-of-age due to her brutal death. The Dutch novelist Harry Mulisch links the growing recognition of Anne’s diary to the fact that the young author died during her process of writing it. In that case, he describes Anne’s diary as being not only a work of art but also a “work of art made by life itself “due to her abrupt and brutal death (Mulisch, as cited by Prose).
Many literary critics often highlight the importance of maturation in Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Girl. According to John Berryman, Anne Frank’s story can be considered as the “conversion of a child into a person” (Berryman, as cited by Prose). Indeed, he highlights the exceptional aspect of Anne’s process of maturation as being uncommon due to her disadvantaged living conditions (Berryman). In like manner, Philip Roth describes Anne Frank’s diary as an “accelerated film of a fetus sprouting a face” (Roth, as cited by Prose). He believes that Anne’s diary effectively portrays the progressive development of Anne’s personality. Consequently, they both put an emphasis on the importance of the theme of coming-of-age in The Diary of a Young Girl. Although this may be true, they did not examine the effect of the use of the epistolary literary device in portraying this specific theme of self-maturation which is however essential throughout her diary. As Anne’s use of epistolary strongly contributes to the portrayal of her coming-of-age, it is necessary to fully analyze her use of epistolary in order to adequately understand her process of maturation. In that case, how does Anne Frank’s use of epistolary form contribute to the portrayal of her coming-of-age?
In this essay, I will first introduce the notion of self-growth and epistolary form, which will allow us to have a better understanding of the relevance of the topic. Then, in order to discern the different approaches used by Anne to unwillingly portray her maturation, I will analyze her use of the epistolary form to portray and link the structure of her novel to her coming of age. This will ultimately create a contrast between Anne’s personality at the beginning and at the end of her diary.
In Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne’s use of the epistolary literary device to express her point of view and narrate the steps of her life builds the naturalistic aspect of the novel. Her use of letters provides a chance to the readers to get closely acquainted with Anne’s personal thoughts and beliefs. She is not afraid to discuss controversial topics such as the Jews’ situation during WWII. Equally important, Anne’s motivation to write in her diary was purely honest and ethical as she was just trying to find a way to escape reality and create a new world for herself. Albeit Anne did make some revisions in order to become a published author, she wrote her letters with a sense of veracity and honesty and did not want to prove a certain point or portray a certain theme. As noted by Philip Roth in The Ghost Writer, the diary of Anne ‘kept her company and it kept her sane” (Roth, as cited by Prose). In that case, unwittingly Anne is able to provide a historical background to her diary. As a matter of fact, she creates a story based on the consequences of WWII on human psychological and physical attributes. Unintentionally, Anne’s provides a vivid representation of life conditions during WWII and documents her coming of age exposed to a life of imprisonment and fear. The chronological order of her letters throughout the years additionally can be aligned with historical facts. In that case, the use of letters each with a specific date creates a dynamic story which uses historical events as a background. Given these points, the use of the epistolary literary device builds Anne’s credibility as a young author which ultimately leads to the creation of the naturalistic aspect of her novel as it creates a sense of sincerity and genuineness. Indeed, as argued by Cynthia Crossen, Anne Frank makes use of an assortment of ideas, dramatic scenes with reflections in her letters as well as a natural tone to creates a sense of spontaneity and genuineness thus portraying the naturalistic aspect of her novel.
Anne’s personification of her diary contributes to the portrayal of her childishness. Indeed, one of the most significant signs of immaturity is the personification of her diary to become Kitty. Although some people may believe that Kitty remains an imaginary character who consequently cannot be personified, others would rather support the fact that Anne personifies her diary to become Kitty. As a matter of fact, Anne already had real-life friends but she felt the need to make an imaginary friend who would possess every quality she looks for in a person to make her feel less desolate. According to Anne, “You can be lonely even when you are loved by many people since you are still not anybody’s one and only” (Frank 130). Moreover, Anne was driven by the idea of having a perfect, compassionate friend, consequently, she started to see her diary as a way to escape real life. Anne created the illusion of Kitty and started to treat her like a real person as she felt like it was easier to talk to Kitty than to her real-life friends: “All I think about when I ‘m with friends is having a good time. I can’t bring myself to talk about anything but ordinary everyday things[…]that’s just how things are, and unfortunately, they’re not liable to change. This is why I’ve started the diary” (13). In that case, Anne’s personifies her diary to becomes Kitty as she creates an imaginary personality for it.
By naming her diary, Anne is able to create an abstract person and characterize her diary as a real person. As a matter of fact, involuntarily Anne shapes her diary as being polymorphic:
it takes the shape of the reader and changes according to the different readers.
In like manner, as Anne believed her diary would never reach an audience, she did not refrain from sharing intimate aspects of her life: from the most insignificant detail to the most essential aspects of the young girl’s life. Anne sees her diary as a friend rather than as a notebook. In that case, she attributes human characteristics to her diary such as the ability to listen or have feelings. As stated by Anne, “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 source of great comfort and support” (11). This illustrates Anne’s childhood innocence and creativity as she was able to make herself believe that her diary was a real and compassionate friend.
Equally important, the protagonist unintentionally shapes her diary as her a real character as Anne builds her self-characterization through Kitty. Indeed, through Kitty, the reader is able to characterize Anne as a young innocent girl according to her thoughts and actions.
Consequently, throughout her diary, Anne uses the personification of her diary to become Kitty in order to show her childishness and immaturity.
Pursuing this further, as the personification of Kitty is a symbol of Anne’s childishness, its continual use serves as a representation of Anne’s incomplete process of maturation.
Indeed, as Anne started to evolve psychologically and physically, she noticed that she could not hold back from talking to Kitty for the reason that her diary was beyond a shadow of a doubt the only consistent thing in real life. Indeed, in addition to being a source of comfort, Anne’s diary became a way to control Anne’s deepest feelings: “The prospect of going back to school in October is making me too happy to be logical! Oh dear, didn’t I just get through telling you I didn’t want to anticipate events? Forgive me, Kitty” (270). Consequently, this phenomenon puts an emphasis on the fact that Anne’s process of maturation did not reach its peak.
Throughout her novel, Anne’s process of self-maturation can be depicted through the evolution of her writing style. Indeed, at the beginning of her novel, Anne makes use of a simple and straightforward diction. She uses the simplest words to describes her personal thoughts which ultimately creates an atmosphere of directness and candor. According to the poet John Berryman, Anne Frank’s diary evokes a sense of exceptional self-awareness, candor and powers of expression (Berryman, as cited by Prose). Indeed, As Anne is still a young girl, she writes her journal in a simple manner while still conveying her message. The use of common terms conclusively makes her diary easily understood: “It seems like years since Sunday morning. So much has happened it’s as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down” (23).
In contrast, by the end of her chronicle, Anne’s writing style underwent a metamorphosis similarly to her metamorphosis as a person. According to Francine Prose, Anne’s latest entries were not a guileless outburst of adolescent thoughts and feelings but a “consciously crafted work of literature” (Prose, as cited by Crossen). Anne’s writing skills became more developed as she is growing up. With this in mind, Anne’s use of a complex diction makes her diary harder to understand. This phenomenon ultimately creates a feeling of intricacy and self-evolvement. Anne uses more imagery and figurative language in order to not only expose her knowledge of literary conventions but also provide a sense of self-improvement. Her use of imagery depicts a deeper analysis and view on herself as well as a feeling of self-awareness. In that case, the change in Anne’s writing style serves as a way to portray her maturation and self-growth.
Correspondingly, Anne’s process of maturation can be illustrated by the transformation of her narrative voice. Indeed, throughout her novel, Anne Frank makes use of a first-person narrative voice thereupon makes her diary more subjective. Nonetheless, it is important to highlight the evolution of Anne’s narrative voice. Anne’s perception and point of view on life has changed. As she makes use of the same narrative voice throughout her novel, her mentality and perception of life have changed thus affecting her narrative voice. Indeed, At the end of the novel, it is noticeable that Anne’s narrative voice was highly affected by her mood swings as an adolescent and by feelings of fear, anger or confusion which were almost absent at the beginning of her novel when she was a child. Additionally, these ultimately highly impact the tone of the novel. At first, the tone of her novel is youthful and optimistic: “I had my birthday party on Sunday afternoon. The Rin Tin Tin movie was a big hit with my classmates. I got two brooches, a bookmark and two books” (Frank 10). Nonetheless, by the end of her novel, the tone becomes more complex and introspective: “As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things” (270).
In the final analysis, the evolution of Anne’s writing style can be analyzed to portray Anne’s process of maturation. Indeed, the metamorphosis of Anne’s writing technique through her use of diction, narrative point of view and figurative language effectively shows a sense of self-improvement and growth.
Anne’s characterization to describe the people surrounding her as well as herself portrays her process of self-growth. Indeed, Anne’s description of other people highly impacts her self-characterization. At the beginning of her novel, Anne provides a surface characterization of others as she does not try to understand why people behave a certain way towards her. She bases her analysis of human nature on people’s actions and appearances. She often jumps to conclusions and drives her action toward someone according to her opinion of that specific person. In that case, she creates a subjective view of the people surrounding her. She, therefore, illustrates her sense of immaturity as she believes that her perception of people corresponds to their real personalities. The most compelling evidence is the characterization of her mother, Edith Frank, at first then of Peter Van Daan. As a matter of fact, Anne shapes her mother as a loathsome character. Anne often accuses her mom of not showing her enough motherly love, affection and care: “I miss – every day and every hour of the day – having a mother who understands me” (129). Instead, she often gets in fights with her mother and does not agree with many of her claims. For this reason, Anne was unfortunately never able to create a close relationship with her mother: “With everything I do and write, I imagine the kind of mom I’d like to be with my children later on[…] I find it difficult to describe what I mean, but the word ‘mom’ says it all” (129). However, Anne never tried to understand why her mom was behaving a certain way with her. She did not try to understand that her personality was strongly similar to mom’s personality, in that case, they often got into fights because they were both outspoken and dynamic. As the reader, it is necessary to understand that Edith Frank was simply hurt by her daughter’s rebellion and rebuffs. This phenomenon ultimately leads Anne to create a closer relationship with her father than with her mother: “I finally told Daddy that I love ‘him’ more than I do Mother, to which he replied that it was just a passing phase, but I don’t think so. I simply can’t stand Mother, and I have to force myself not to snap at her all the time, and to stay calm when I’d rather slap her across the face” (48). In that case, Anne provides a bias characterization of her mother and does not understand her mom’s motivations or good intentions. Anne’s characterization of her mom marks her childhood stage. In that case, unwillingly, Anne is able to shape herself as an immature little girl because she shows that her mentality did not allow her to look further in order to provide a valid characterization of other characters and bases their descriptions on her child opinions.
Similarly, with Peter Van Daan, a year and a half after they have been hiding, Anne starts to notice the young boy and characterizes him according to what she wants to see. Anne creates a surface characterization of Peter as she solely bases her judgments on her idealistic view of teenage love and fantasies. To clarify, Anne believes that Peter is a sweet boy who desperately needs affection: “I think, Kitty, that true love may be developing in the Annex. All those jokes about marrying Peter if we stayed here long enough weren’t so silly after all” (189)
In reality, by the end of Anne’s diary, it is noticeable that Anne’s opinion of Peter has changed, in that case, she acknowledges the fact that her characterization of the young boy was based on an idealistic view of love. Indeed, Anne’s opinion of the young boy was highly influenced by her loneliness: “I know very well that he was my conquest and not the other way around. I created an image of him in my mind, pictured him as a quiet, sweet, sensitive boy badly in need of friendship and love[…]When I finally got him to be my friend, it automatically developed into an intimacy that, when I think about it now, seems outrageous” (268). In that case, she is later on faced with Peter’s real personality which is different from Anne’s initial opinions.
In contrast to the characterization of her mom, Anne’s characterization of Peter marks the beginning of her coming of age. During this time, she stills has a sense of childishness despite the beginning of her process of maturation.
Consequently, the analysis of Anne’s use of characterization can be used to depict her childishness and immaturity.
Conversely, by the end of her diary, Anne’s gains a better point of view of herself, consequently, her perception of life and people surrounding her has changed. As Anne grows up, she becomes introspective and tries to gain a better understanding of herself before trying to provide a valid characterization of others Her understanding of human psychology was highly influenced by her personal life experiences. Anne’s characterization underwent a metamorphosis as she gains a better interpretation of herself. To support this claim, she characterizes herself as a dual character, she believes that there are two different sides in her personality, “the lighthearted Anne” and the “deeper Anne” which both come out according to the person she is faced with (271). Correspondingly she gains a deeper view of life, is able to provide an explanation to reactions of the people surrounding her. Nonetheless, Anne is still troubled by the meaning of existence and her role as a human. She feels a sense of fear and confusion marked by the inconsistency of her feelings: “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” (272). Anne focuses her analysis on herself and tries to understand herself first before creating an image of others. In that case, Anne tries to learn more about herself before judging others. As an example, later on in the novel, after reading the book What Do You Think of the Modern Young Girl? Anne reflects on herself and tries to think about her own strengths and weaknesses. She gets to reflect on her relationship with her father as well as her deepest fears such as her feeling of isolation (266). Pursuing this further as Anne reflects on her past actions, she understands that she might have acted foolish or egotistical in some cases. Indeed, as she states, “I’ve let myself be guided entirely by my feelings. It was egotistical, but I’ve done what was best for my own peace of mind” (267). Consequently, as she becomes more introspective, Anne ultimately portrays her maturation.
Lastly, Anne’s Frank use of revisions in her diary furthermore portrays the theme of coming-of-age. Indeed, later on in the composition of her diary, Anne Frank, wanting to reach an audience by being published, decided to make revisions in order to make her letters more appealing to the public without nonetheless manipulating authentic facts and events. As stated by Francine Prose, author of Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, ‘She decided that she wanted the book to be published, and she went back to the beginning and she re-wrote all the entries she wrote as a 13-year-old, except of course now she was a 15-year-old,’. In that case, throughout her novels, Anne Frank’s revisions acts as comments that explain and reveal her final opinions on certain matters. Frequently, it is noticeable that Anne’s point of view concerning a specific topic has thoroughly been changed due to her maturation. As an example, Anne’s sudden switch of opinion concerning her mother portrays Frank’s process of self-growth. Indeed, while reading her previous diary entries, Anne feels sorry for her bad actions towards her mother and tries to better their relationship. Nonetheless, she confesses that she will never be able to love her mother ‘with the devotion of a child” (132).
In that case, analyzing Anne’s initial and final perception of life and opinions through her revisions provides a flagrant contrast between her mentality as a child and as an adolescent. This time lapse effect ultimately builds Anne’s characterization as a young introspective girl. As an example, as stated by Anne in one of her comments: “I wouldn’t be able to write that kind of thing anymore. Now that I’m rereading my diary after a year and a half I’m surprised at my childish innocence. Deep down I know I could never be that innocent again […]it embarrasses me greatly to read the pages dealing with subjects that I remember as being nicer than they actually were” (56). In that case, Anne’s use of comments adequately points out to a change in Anne’s perception of life which results from her process of maturation.
All things considered, In The Diary of a Young girl, Anne Frank portrays her process of maturation through the use of epistolary. Indeed, through her letters, it is noticeable that in spite of her extraordinary circumstances, the protagonist, Anne, is faced with many conventional problems of adolescence such as feelings of isolation, rebellion towards her mother, curiosity about adulthood, and shifting attitudes. In that case, Anne’s puberty is a conventional portrayal of typical teenage habits. Her diary does not only give a vivid representation of World War II circumstances since it also addresses the timeless theme of puberty which reflects and illustrates typical teenage tendencies. In that case, the topic of coming-of-age is usually perceived as a universal topic; it highlights the importance of self-development but also acts as a link that connects similar-minded teenagers around the world. By representing Anne’s change of character with the evolution of her writing style, characterization and revisions, Frank effectively links her dynamic character to her situation as a WWII refugee. Consequently, the use of the epistolary literary technique highly impacts the portrayal of Anne’s process of maturation as it gives a vivid representation of her evolution as a person. Pursuing this further, it shapes Anne as a dynamic character thus representing her self-growth. In that case, what other aspects of Anne’s diary are highlighted by her use of epistolary?
- Crossen, Cynthia. “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl”. The Wall Street Journal, 25 Sept. 2009
- Curran, Louise. “Letters, Letter Writing and Epistolary Novels.” The British Library, The British Library, 18 May 2018, www.bl.uk/restoration-18th-century-literature/articles/letters-letter-writing-and-epistolary-novels
- Prose, Francine. “Francine Prose Explores Anne Frank’s Literary Genius.” NPR, NPR, 26 Sept. 2009, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113198365.
- Frank, Anne, 1929-1945 author. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
- White, Claire Nicolas, and Harry Mulisch. “Death and the Maiden.” The New York Review of Books, The New York Review of Books, www.nybooks.com/articles/1986/07/17/death and-the-maiden/.
Impressions from Reading the Diary of Anne Frank
From a technical aspect, The Diary of Anne Frank was superb. The set design captured the sheer simplicity with which the Franks and van Pelts had to live, all the while adding to the intimacy between the actors and the audience. That no real partitions separated the bedrooms from each other or from the general “common room”—what Mr. Frank termed the dining room—emphasized the utter lack of privacy which Mrs. Frank so keenly observed in the first act. Most obviously, the excerpts from Anne’s diary that were painted on the floor and walls added an artistic element to an otherwise minimalist set. It was also meaningful that the sole entrance to the theater was the bookcase; this contributed to the realism of the show for the audience.
With regards to the content of the show, each of the characters was sufficiently developed. Mr. Frank quickly emerged as the voice of reason within the group. His character foil, Mr. van Daan, exhibited an impulsive, ill-tempered nature throughout the show, particularly in his “quarrel” with his wife in the first act, as well as in his failed attempt to sneak bread in the second act. His equally erratic counterpart, Mrs. van Daan, openly flirts with Mr. Frank because her personality and her husband’s are noticeably discordant. Peter van Daan, though ostensibly irritable, is clandestinely shy, unlike his outspoken father. Margot Frank is reserved, graceful, and remarkably intelligent for her age. Likewise, Mrs. Frank keeps to herself. Most of her dialogue in the play focuses on reprimanding spontaneous Anne and helping her be more mature. Mr. Dussel is the introverted, fretful outcast of the group, owing partly to his late entrance into the Secret Annex, well after a group dynamic was established. Miep Gies is the group’s optimistic connection to the outside world. Her altruism is apparent in her unequivocal dedication to helping the Franks and van Daans despite the obvious threat this poses to her own safety. Mr. Kraler, on the other hand, has some qualms about helping the group, as his worrisome nature suggests. Lastly, Anne is very thoughtful and “dignified” in her own right—contrary to her mother’s beliefs. She is unapologetically honest, particularly in her aversion from her mother. She undergoes perhaps the most drastic change of all the characters between the first and second acts, though she never complains of the dismal circumstances of life in the annex.
It is also important to note that each character had an outlet, a way in which he or she dealt with the pain and discomfort of a marginalized, uncertain life in hiding. Anne, obviously, has her diary. In the second act, she even recounted to Peter that she hoped to make a career out of her writing. We see, therefore, that her diary served as a distraction from the present and offered her a daily glimpse into the more promising future. Mr. Frank explained to Anne, “Now, every time I read my Dickens, it takes me into another world. And, in that world, I am free.” Mrs. Frank keeps her mind off of her present misfortune by repeatedly trying to instill politeness and respect in Anne. She does this with the assumption that, when they are rescued from the annex and from hiding, these skills will serve Anne well. That is, she assumes there will be a future in which Anne will benefit from these lessons. Mrs. Frank lectures Anne significantly more in the first act than in the second act; this might be attributed to her noticeable loss of hope (in the second act) for rescue and the end of the Third Reich. Even without her confession to Miep that she “feels the end will never come”, Mrs. Frank makes it clear that she is very reluctant to believe she and her family will live to see the future and the rest of their lives. Considering this, it follows that she would helplessly give up scolding Anne. Mrs. van Daan had her fur coat as a reminder of the luxurious life that once was. After her husband gave it to Miep to sell, Mrs. van Daan lamented, “Oh, Putti, that was the last thing! A whole world—gone.” Mr. van Daan had his cigarettes, then a mark of living the high life. He also frequently longed for “Berkhof’s cream cakes”, a treat from which “rotten kale and potatoes” were a stark aberration. Margot and Mr. Dussel led private lives, somewhat aloof from the rest of the group, Mr. Dussel even “spending most of [his] life in [the WC]”, which was the only place in the entire Secret Annex where solitude was possible. Peter, somewhat introverted himself, spent a sizeable amount of time in the attic with his cat, Mouschi, as opposed to joining the others downstairs.
Living During Holocaust Described in the Diary of Anne Frank
“I only knew its funny never to be able to go outdoors… never to breathe fresh air… never to run and shout and jump”. Anne Frank wrote this in The Diary of Anne Frank, while she was hiding in a dark loft with two families, knowing that at any moment, her life could be over. Anne Frank was living in fear like this for two years. During the time period of the Holocaust, when the Nazi’s were sending Jews to concentration camps, Anne and her family, along with two other families were in a small, cramped loft that barely had any space to fit them all. The main problems the families living in the Annex faced were harsh living conditions, fearful tension and a scarcity of supplies.
To begin, the living conditions the residents of the Annex were forced to live with were very dreadful and cruel. The place in which Anne was driven to take refuge was obviously not the most ideal place, seeing as they had to live “off the grid”, meaning they had to do whatever it took in order to be safely concealed from the public and from the Nazis. The residents of the Annex couldn’t run water, which included using the bathroom, talk, and they had to walk lightly. “So, to be perfectly safe, from eight in the morning until six in the evening we must move only when it is necessary, and then in stockinged feet. We must not speak above a whisper. We must not run any water.” Mr. Frank had said this in The Diary of Anne Frank. This quote explains the hardships that the residents of the Annex had to deal with. Given these points, if people in the Annex didn’t adhere to these precautions, wouldn’t be safe.
Moreover, fear is a catalyst that fuels the residents into hiding from the Nazis in 1942. The subjugation of Holland by the German Nazis stimulated this apprehension. Jews were afraid the Nazis would drag them from their home and force them to a concentration camp. In The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank said, “Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of day, poor helpless people are being dragged outside their homes”. Anne Frank explains to the reader that every family in the Annex and the Jews outside are living in terror. Anne also explains how the Nazis are locating and deporting the Jews straight from the comfort of their homes to the hellish environment of a concentration camp. The families in the Annex were also in fear of losing all of their supplies. In addition to a very harsh environment and the trepidation created invasion by the Nazis, the members in the Annex were restricted even further by now having a scarce amount of supplies and necessities.
In addition to isolation and fear, the lack of supplies in the Annex made the living conditions harsher. The residents in the Annex had such a lack of food that they have been sharing the food rations. “The bread! He was stealing the bread-Mrs. Frank. It was you, and all the time we thought it was the rats! -Dussel. Mr. Van Daan, how could you! -Mr. Frank. I’m hungry- Mr. Van Daan. We’re all of us hungry! I see the children getting thinner and thinner. Your own son Peter… I’ve heard him moan in his sleep, he’s so hungry. And you come in the night and steal food that should got to them… to the children- Mrs. Frank.” This quote explains how Mr. Van Daan pilfered food at night to ease his hunger. Mrs. Frank then goes on to describe how the children are growing thinner and go to sleep starving. The lack of resources is another factor in the Annex that the residents have to suffer through.
In the final analysis, Anne Frank and her family lived in fear for two years, as they had to deal with very harsh living conditions; they lived in fear, and barely had enough food to survive. The three families in the Annex got eventually got caught by the Germans and were sent to concentration camps. But, Anne Frank and her glorious legacy will forever be resonant.æ
The Soul of The Jewish People
Anne Frank was a young Holocaust survivor who provided a vivid glimpse into what life was like living in Nazi occupied Holland through her diary. Frank’s diary is a story of faith, hope and love in the face of hate. Throughout her short lived life a journey like millions of others was shared through a diary she wrote while in hiding. Anne started life normally and simply, but when Hitler came to power everything had changed. Anne was forced into hiding, was put in and died in a concentration camp, she wrote in her diary about her experience up until she was forced into the camp, and to remember what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Now to this day her diary entries still inspires people around the world and will never be forgotten.
The Frank family was a typical upper middle class German-Jew family. Anne was born in Frankfurt, Germany and at the age of four moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands when the Nazis gained control of Germany. When Hitler had become chancellor, the Franks immediately decided it was time to flee. On September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland igniting a global conflict which quickly turned into World War II. About a year later in October of 1940, Anne and her sister Margot were forced to transfer to a segregated Jewish school. “After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was war, then the capitulation, and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.”- Anne Frank.
On July sixth of 1942 the Franks went into hiding in a concealed room behind a bookcase in the building where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, had worked after persecutions of the Jewish population increased and Anne’s sister, Margot was faced with deportation to a supposed forced-labor camp. To avoid detection, the family left a false trail suggesting they’d fled to Switzerland. In the secret annex, the Franks were joined by Otto’s business associate Herman Van Pels, along with his wife Auguste and their son Peter who were also Jewish. A small group of Otto Frank’s employees had risked their own lives to smuggle food, supplies and news of the outside world into the secret annex. Through the days they had to be quiet because if they were to be caught the consequences would not be good. Anne passed time by writing her observations and feelings in a diary she had gotten for her thirteenth birthday. The family spent two years in hiding without ever stepping foot outside of the dark, damp portion of the building. On August fourth of 1944, after twenty five months in hiding, Anne Frank and seven others were discovered by the Gestapo also known as the German secret state police, who had learned about the hiding place from an anonymous tipster who has never to this day been definitely identified.
Following their arrest, the Franks were transported to concentration camps. First, they were sent to a holding camp in northern Netherlands by the Gestapo. From the holding camp, the group was transported by freight train to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination and concentration camp complex in German-occupied Poland. Anne and her sister Margot were spared immediate death in the Auschwitz gas chambers and instead on October of 1944 they were transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany. About five months later in March of 1945 Anne and Margot died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen and were thrown into a mass grave. Only one month after their death on April 25, 1945, British forces liberated the camp.
During Anne’s time in the secret annex, Anne wrote out her feeling and observations and questions to keep her sanity. She addressed her diary entries to an imaginary friend she called Kitty. She also wrote about life in hiding, including her impressions of the other inhabitants of the secret annex, her feelings of loneliness and her frustration over the lack of privacy. “I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die.”-Anne Frank. “It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering, and death.”-Anne Frank. Anne displayed keen insight and maturity when she wrote about the war, humanity, and her identity. On the side Anne also wrote a few short stories and essays during the time hiding.” Anne had been inspired to edit her diary for posterity after hearing a March 1944 radio broadcast from an exiled Dutch governmental official who urged the Dutch people to keep journals and letters that would provide a record of what life was like under the Nazis’. Though the time in the annex was hard for Anne she never lost her hope. “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”- Anne Frank.
Otto Frank, Anne’s father was the only survivor of the family. When Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam following his release from Auschwitz, Miep Gies gave him five notebooks and about three hundred loose papers containing Anne’s writings. Gies recovered her writing materials from the secret annex shortly after the Franks arrest by the Nazis and had hidden them in her desk. After his daughter, Anne’s writings were returned to him, Otto Frank helped compile them into a manuscript that was published in the Netherlands in 1947. “Although U.S. publishers initially rejected the work as too depressing and dull, it was eventually published in America in 1952 as ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’”.
“The Diary of a Young girl” was published in over 60 languages. On June 25, 1947, Anne Frank’s ‘Het Achterhuis’ was published in Dutch in a small edition of 3,036 copies. After the success of the Dutch copy of the book, Otto Frank found publishers in West Germany and in France willing to publish “The Secret Annex”. In 1950, both translations were published. A first edition of 4,600 copies was printed in Germany, but the book was not a bestseller. “When ‘Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank’ was published as a cheap pocket in 1955, it became a hit. When the play was also a success in the Federal Republic of Germany, a total of 700,000 copies were printed. The success of the play led to the publication of an edition in the GDR in 1957”. “The Diary of a Young Girl” remains one of the most moving and widely read first hand accounts of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust.
Anne Frank’s house was supposed to be knocked down but people wanted to preserve it and today it is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam. In 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. The museum opened on May 3, 1960. “The museum preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands”. Shortly after the book was published, visitors were shown around by the employees who had hidden the families and could see the secret rooms. By 1955, the company had moved and the entire block, which the building belonged to was sold to a single estate agent who wanted to knock down the building and build a factory on the space. A campaign to save the building and to list it as a protected monument was started by the Dutch paper “Het Vrije Volk” on November 23, 1955. The building was saved by campaigners who staged a protest outside the building on the day of demolition. “The former hiding place of Anne Frank attracted a huge amount of interest, especially as translations and dramatisations of the Diary had made her a figure known throughout the world. Over 9,000 visitors came in its first year. In a decade, there were twice as many. Over the years, the building has had to be renovated to manage such a large number of visitors”.
Anne Frank’s story and legacy has made a mark on this world by letting people around the world see what struggles and hardships she went through in her diary. Anne Frank died at the age of fifteen because she was a Jewish girl during the time of the Holocaust. For all the survivors out there, her story shows you that you weren’t alone. For all the deniers out there, her story shows you that it was real. For all the people who never knew about the Holocaust, her story shows you that this can happen. The Holocaust was a tragedy, but Anne Frank’s story will continue to inspire and teach for many more generations.
The Diary Of Anne Frank: The Holocaust By The Eyes Of a Witness
The Holocaust was a time where people were dropping like flies. It was a time period where people were hunted down like animals and killed in cold blood. Adolf Hitler was an anti-Semitic Nazi leader who believed that Jews were an inferior race, an “alien threat to the German racial purity”. Around six million Jews between 1941 and 1945 were tortured to death by the death squads or worse transported to death camps. The Nazis sought to obliterate the entire Jewish race in Europe. Victims ranged from children to the elderly, there was no age limit to stop the wrath of these cold hearted killers (The Holocaust). During the Holocaust, Jews documented their mournful experience in their own words and from their own perspective in letters and diaries. Anne Frank was one of these testimonial writers of this heartbreaking time and she allowed us to see into her world through her optimistic eyes.
The most famous acclaimed life during the Holocaust has been read by millions of people, including ourselves. We have all read or watched The Diary of Anne Frank at some point in our lives. Anne Frank is the world’s most famous World War II Holocaust victim. She was a Jewish teenager who went into hiding during the Holocaust for two years. She jotted down her experience while being confined with her family and four other fugitives as they hid behind a bookcase in a concealed attic space of her father’s office building (Anne Frank Biography). Her optimistic view of the depressing time reflected her nobility. These journal entries of her traumatizing experience later became the renowned book, The Diary of Anne Frank which serves as a tool of information and inspiration to many people.
Annelies “Anne” Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 12, 1929 and died in February- March 1945. Her father, Otto Frank, was a businessman while her mother, Edith, was a stay at home mom. Anne was an outgoing and spirited child. She got into more trouble than her quiet and serious older sister, Margot. Anne was like her father who liked to play around, while Margot was more shy like her mother. She was like any other teenage girl around her age. Anne Frank had the common teenage arguments with her parents, as well as the thoughts of being a self-regulating girl hoping to fall in love, as most teenagers do today. The skinny thirteen year old girl with short black hair and a fair skin complexion who, was a naughty, funny,courageous, smart, and loud girl (Biography Anne frank).
Furthermore, the Holocaust was the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II. There were mobile killing units, also, known as the death squad that were in charge of these mass murders. The death squad had many methods of killing these innocent people but their favorite was the open field. They would enter a town or city and rounded up all Jews, where they were forced to gather all their valuables and remove their clothing. Then the killing squad members would march them into open fields, forests, and ravines on the outskirts of the town. There they would line them up in a line and shoot them in the line with no mercy; then dumped the bodies into mass graves (Mobile killing squad). Another, method was the gas vans in which the “exhaust pipes had been reconfigured to pump carbon monoxide gas into sealed paneled spaces behind the cabs of the vehicles. ”The dead bodies were then driven into a nearby forest, where they were dumped into mass graves. There were six killing centers known as “extermination camps” or “death camps. “Chelmno was the first killing campto begin operations, in December 1941. The largest killing center was Auschwitz-Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II. In the camps they would kill the jews by placing them in gas chambers (Killing center: In depth). First, they were told to take off their clothing because they were going to take a shower. Inside there were three columns for the ventilators, through which the gas was poured in. When the room was full, small children were thrown in through a window. Infants were grabbed by their little legs and smashed their skulls against the wall. Then the gas was let into the chamber, where the lungs of the victims slowly burst, and after three minutes a loud clamoring could be heard. Then the chamber were opened, and those who showed signs of life were beaten to death (Experiences of a Fifteen year old in Birkenau).
Anne Frank’s story is an unquestionably horrifying yet moving story. Even though Anne did not physically survive the camps, her soul is immortalized in her diary. Anne’s legacy is important because it provides insight into the lives of those in hiding during World War II. Her story provided the world with a glimpse into the mind of a real victim during this inhuman time period. Her constant positive outlook on her life was amazing she said “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ” Even through the toughest of tough she had a positive view. The emotional appeal that Anne writes with provides a learning and a relatable connection that textbooks about World War II just cannot provide. Anne’s writing also has a positive undertone, she sees good in everyone. This reminds people that it is possible to find light even in the darkest of situations. Anne’s story is one of courage and hope, when all hopes were lost. “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains” Anne Frank. ”
Anne represented, and still does, an entire race during a very bleak time. A time where these jewish families lost everything from material things to inner hope. But that wasn’t case for Anne; she teaches humanity many lessons about life. Her most impactful lesson is being optimistic and humble. Anne Frank was able to tell us her story about what it was like to live in a country full of people that hated Jews, like herself. Having to be aware and careful while living with fear every single day is no way to live, but Anne Frank managed to keep positive every day she was alive. She teaches us to be optimistic, to see the good things around us, and not to focus on the negative aspects of life, as she did during her traumatizing experience. Anne Frank always saw the light in the nazies as they destroyed an entire race with no mercy. Under all evil there is some type of light.
Anne Frank: the Diary of Young Girl
Throughout the book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Anne developed and changed into a young woman. In the beginning of the book, Anne felt a lot of self-pity and regret for her actions. She always was compared to her sister Margot who was described as the perfect daughter who never talked back or got in fights with people like Anne often did. Anne questioned herself, “Am I really so badmannered, conceited, headstrong, pushing, stupid, lazy, etc., etc., as they all say? Oh of course not. I have my faults, just like everyone else, I know that, but they thoroughly exaggerate everything” (Frank, pg. 54). Mrs. Van Daan often made Anne feel weak miserable about herself and made her dread being in the Secret Annexe. Since she was just a young girl, Anne didn’t really know how to be strong and have confidence in herself.
As the book goes on, Anne Frank gains some knowledge and reflects on her past and her family and tries to move on. She meditates on her earlier life and thinks, “I just didn’t want to see all of this, and pitied myself very much, but that, too, is understandable. Those violent outbursts on paper were only giving vent to anger which in a normal life could have been worked off by stamping my feet a couple of times in a locked room, or calling Mummy names behind her back” (Frank, pg 170). Because Anne looked back at her past mistakes, it makes her stronger and helps her develop into a better, happier person who doesn’t dwell on everything questionable she has done.
As the book comes to an end, Anne realizes that she has two sides to her personality. She explains, “I’ve already told you before that I have, as it were, a dual personality. One half embodies my exuberant cheerfulness, making fun of everything, my high spiritedness, and above all, the way I take everything lightly. This includes not taking offense at a flirtation, a kiss, an embrace, a dirty joke. This side is usually lying in wait and pushes away the other, which is much better, deeper and purer” (Frank, pg. 340). Anne finally comes to realize that she isn’t perfect and most people haven’t seen her better side. She wishes people like her parents and Peter didn’t always have to see her lesser side, but that’s just the way it is.
Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca, used a lot of very wonderful descriptions which had deeper meanings throughout the book. For example, Manderley’s library was described, “There was an old quiet smell about the room, as though the air in it was little changed, for all the sweet lilac scent and the roses brought to it throughout the early summer. Whatever air came to this room, whether from the garden or from the sea, would lose its first freshness, becoming part of the unchanging room itself, one with the books, musty and never read, one with the scrolled ceiling, the dark panelling, the heavy curtains” (du Maurier, p 69). This description of the room possessed a dull and somber mood. Deep down it really meant that Rebecca’s essence and existence still appeared in the room, therefore that was why why it was so dreary and dead in the library. Anything fresh that came to the room would never thrive and prosper. Also, it inferred that the library didn’t have a lot of liveliness because of her death and how it gave the narrator a bit of uneasiness and dread living in Rebecca’s house as her “replacement”.
In the book, the narrator’s name and background is never revealed due to a deeper and more symbolic meaning. The narrator is the new Mrs. De Winter and has replaced Rebecca, the old Mrs. De Winter. It is very hard for her to move on and be happy because she believed that everyone loved and missed the old Rebecca and doesn’t care about her because she deserves to be unknown. Also, she always felt that Rebecca was still there in the house and will always be there. The narrator explained, “Unconsciously I shivered, as though someone had opened the door behind me, and let a draught into the room. I was sitting in Rebecca’s chair, I was leaning against Rebecca’s cushion, and the dog had come to me and laid his head upon my knee because that had been his custom, and he remembered, in the past, she had given sugar to him there” (du Maurier, p 79). In conclusion, this was the reason why her name was never revealed. Rebecca was the type of person who knew how to make everyone love her when she was alive and mourn her existence forever when she was dead. The narrator would’ve had to overcome the dead Mrs. De Winter for it to be important for her name to be revealed because she was the lesser one of the two and could never out grow her legacy.
To Kill a Mockingbird
The book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a book that was seperated into two different parts. It is divided into two parts because both sections have a different topic. The first part of the book is all about Boo Radley and the town of Maycomb. It is basically explaining Scout and Jem’s normal lives during the time period of the 1930s in the south. On the other hand, the second part of the book is all about the scandalous trial in which Atticus is defending Tom Robinson, the black man accused of raping a white woman. Also, another reason the book is divided into two is because Jem and Scout have grown up. The second part of the book shows the more “mature” version of the children. In the beginning of the book Scout was six and Jem was ten. In the beginning of part two Jem was twelve and scout was eight. Since scout was becoming an older boy, he was starting to change his attitude and lose most of young playful mood. His new self was described, “Jem was twelve. He was difficult to live with, inconsistent, moody” (Lee, pg. 109). This showed how part two of the book also illustrated how people change as they grow up in life.
A concrete symbol in To Kill a Mockingbird was the knot-hole in the tree at the edge of the Radley lot. The situation when Scout first saw the knot-hole was described, “Some tinfoil was sticking in a knot-hole just above my eye level, winking at me in the afternoon sun. I stood on tiptoe, hastily looked around once more, reached into the hole, and withdrew two pieces of chewing gum minus their outer wrappers” (Lee, pg. 35). This was a key symbol in the book because it was Boo Radley’s way of communication with the kids through giving them little presents. Although he didn’t leave the house much, it still showed that he was a good person who just wanted a friendship. The knot-hole was a sign of friendliness and also a sign of awareness of Boo Radley being a normal human being and not some crazy neighbor they have.
Anne Frank – a Person Who Inspires Me
Anne Frank was a teen writer who went into hiding during the Holocaust, journaling her experiences in the renowned work The Diary of Anne Frank.
Born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank lived in Amsterdam with her family during World War II. Fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews, the family went into hiding for two years; during this time, Frank wrote about her experiences and wishes. She was 15 when the family was found and sent to the camps, where she died. Her work, The Diary of Anne Frank, has gone on to be read by millions.
Anne Frank wrote her first diary entry, addressed to an imaginary friend named kitty “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’s family and the other Jewish people they lived with, almost did not step outside the secret Annex for more than 2 years. She wrote extensive daily entries in her diary to pass the time. This would require extreme patience, the eight members in the household could barely move from 8:30am to 6:30pm, so no one could hear them from below.
Anne Frank inspires me for many reasons. Her personality was strong, which in turn allowed her to show great bravery in life. To be able to sit in bed at night and hear the sirens, taking away friends and family, and hearing the bombs and explosions as the war raged around. To handle all of that and still live a ‘semi’- normal life (as recorded in her diary) proved that she was a very brave young woman.
She was the type of person who always looked on the bright side of life. Even when she was in hiding, she never doubted the fact that she would get out of the war alive. She is influential to me because I see her as a hero in my eyes, she was optimistic, patient, unselfish and strong. For most she is someone to look up to, especially for me.
37 years ago the world watched Diana, a young, beautiful school teacher marry the charming heir to the British throne, Prince Charles. This started a new age for the British Monarchy, so long the outdated traditions and the lifeless personages. People watched in delight as the princess attended her official duties with style and grace that stood in contrast to the formal approach of other royal family members.
When the ‘perfect’ marriage between Prince Charles and Diana began to show some cracks, their conflicts were widely reported in the media. In 1996 the world’s most famous marriage ended in divorce. While remaining a supportive and loving mother to William and Harry, Diana championed a number of charitable causes, including homelessness and aids awareness. She focused her attention on the worldwide menace of landmines.
“The Diary of Anne Frank”
Anne Frank- Anne is a thirteen years old Jewish girl. She’s a chatterbox, clever girl and she dreamed to be a writer, she is fanned of writing on what she is feeling or what had happen to her. She’s an emotional girl who’s empathic in some ways. She adores her father so much. Anne is somehow a jealous daughter/person. She’s obedient to her parents.
Margot Frank- She is Anne’s sister. Anne sees her as brilliant, pretty, “perfect” and everyone’s favorite. Margot only exist in Anne’s dairy in the cause of jealousy or anger, because of how their mom favored Margot so much.
Mrs. van Daan- The mother of Peter who is disagreeable, she and Edith Frank is not really in good terms because of their different perspective and on how she criticize the franks. She’s somehow lazy and egotistical. She’s flirtatious to Anne’s dad. She and Anne always have conflict because she keeps on correcting Anne’s actions. She is mean and sometimes vulgar.
Peter van Daan- The son of Mr. and Mrs. van Daan, Anne describe him as obnoxious, lazy and hypersensitive, he is stubborn at times. But later on they become close to Anne and become somehow a lover
Mr. van Daan- He is the Father of Peter who is egotistical, adamant, intelligent and pragmatic. He works with Otto Frank in one company as herbal specialist. He is temperamental and he speaks his mind.
Otto Frank- Anne’s Father, Anne sees her dad kind, intelligent, gentle and thoughtful. She loves her dad for his dad is the only person who understand and stands for her. He is somewhat conservative, protective and secretive when it comes to sexuality. He is smart and skillful business man. He had a strong character. He is the only one who survive the war.
Edith Hollander-Frank- Anne’s mom. Anne sees her as sentimental and critical, they always have misunderstanding. She lacks of affection to Anne’s.
Mr. Dussel- He is a dentist and acquainted to Otto Frank who help the Franks hide in the annex
Mr. Kraler (Kugler) – Is also one of the people who help the Franks in hiding in the annex
Miep Gies- She’s the secretary in Otto Frank’s office. Who also help the Franks. She was the one who hid the diary in her desk drawer, unread.
Bep Voskuijl- She is also one of the people who helps the Franks, she’s helpful to Franks the whole time the Franks were living in the annex
Mr. Voskuijl- Bep’s father
Jan Gies- he is the husband of Mieps
Peter Schiff- He was Anne’s love from sixth grade.
Hello Selberberg- He was the lover of Anne, but Anne sees him as a friend though they have somewhat romantic relationship
Setting: Secret Annex, is a proportion of Otto Frank and Mr. van Daan’s office. Anne stated it detail by detail in the diary where there is a staircase and there is another door. The easiest way to go to the annex but prohibited to be opened or else they will all be caught.
Point of View: First person point of view
Anne received a diary on her thirteenth Birthday and she started to pour out all her emotions, perceptions and what she observes. It consists of girlhood where she shares to kitty (diary’s name) about the boys who has crush on her, her friends, her academic performances, her sister and Parents.
The van Daan’s come to live with the Franks earlier than the day they scheduled, at first they all have good spirits, as their lives go on inside the annex, couple fight or fights between the family starts to breakout because of the stress all of them are feeling. And when Mr. Drussel come to live with them, it starts more of the fight because Mr. Drussel is arrogant person. Soon after all that, a thief breaks into the office below and they all try to be quiet but a lamp fell and it scares the thief but makes the thief knows someone lives up there. It scares everyone more.
After living the annex for 2 years, the phone downstairs ring and makes everyone confused. But Mr. Drussel thinks its Miep trying to contact them so he run downstairs but he’s too late because the ringing stops and the green police shows up and starts banging down the door. They calmly pack up their things, and wait for the green police to take them away to the concentration camp.
The green police finally get in and gives them time to pack up whatever they can carry on their person, and leave.
“deep down, I believe people are good” Otto Frank felt shame because after all what Nazi,or the German people put them through but still Anne believes that they are good at heart.
Theme: Racism, I thought of this as the theme because on how German put the slavery to Jewish people. They can’t enjoy their lives for there are limitations are Jewish could do.
Atmosphere: fear, Because we can feel and imagined how fearful the Frank’s and van Daan’s.
A Powerful Story Of Anne Frank Life
Anne Frank’s story is a powerful story. Her story can be explained in different ways; the Diary of Anne Frank, Anne Frank’s Biography, Anne Frank’s Hiding Place, and Anne Frank’s Holocaust. Each of these topics perpetuates social justice. Social justice can be defined a distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. Anne Frank’s focus this year is to Engage, Lead, and Improve the World, which coincides with the difficulties of social justice then and now.
The presentation was thorough. The thesis, statements, and main points were clear. The story was meaningful. The presentation was full of metaphors; emotions were compared to bubbles, the routine and being controlled were compared to robots, and being different and being yourself was compared to Alex; a girl who did not cooperate like the rest of the robots. The play motivated me to share my story not only with the people who I give advice to but to also to not be ashamed to express my story any and everywhere. I was not always able to tell my story to everyone but participating in this event enhanced my comfortability to share my story with more confidence, be more open, and taught me how to use metaphors more vigorously.
My father constantly went over the fundamentals of Heaven and Hell, so I was basically taught to believe in it. He was very religious. My dad always told me to stand my ground and read the bible. He says it is required to believe in the word of God so I can walk through the gateway of Heaven; a beautiful, peaceful place full of angels and brightly whitened clouds. There are a lot rules and regulations you must follow; obey your mother and father, respect your neighbors, love everyone as you love yourself, wait until marriage, don’t kill, lie, or cheat; you know… all that good stuff. I cannot quote all of them word for word, but I can assure you I have probably broken almost all. I have a guilty conscience but I do not tell anyone about it. I keep all my emotions inside so no one can ask “what is wrong?” If they question me, it’ll require an explanation that I’m not ready to give. Most of the time I pretend like everything’s okay, when in reality, I store all of my emotions in these dull, cracked up imaginary glass bottles. The more the bottles fill up, the more I try ignoring the agony of being reminded of my wrong doings. My pains stem from multiple directions. Each direction triggers a different nerve in my body, which affects the main part of me; my self-esteem.
My self-esteem began to lessen once I lost virginity. I was 13 years old when “the love of my life” crushed my precious flower. His name was Mark. He was so beautiful to me; brownskin, tall, smelled like linen fabric softener, and very sweet (to almost every girl actually). I didn’t pay attention to my feelings toward him flirting with other girls; I was just happy to be one of them. He gave me my first kiss in 6th grade. It was on these dusty stoned gym stairs right in front of our gym teacher’s ran down office. He asked me to be his girlfriend a week after. He would buy me tropical flavored fruit snacks and write me little love notes twice a week. Most of the time I couldn’t read them; some of his letters were messed up because he had horrible penmanship and he was left handed. However, none of his flaws bothered me. Butterflies would rush into my stomach whenever he walked in a room. He had a glow; well, he did to me. I was blinded by “love” I thought was real.
All of these feelings I had for this “outstanding guy” led me to giving him something that could never be returned to me. My father stressed the abstinence rule. “In the Bible, Alexys, one must wait until marriage. That is all. The only thing guys want from you is sex. Period.” On February 17, 2012, I had sex with Mark. At that time I was happy, but after he got what he wanted, he moved right along with the time. He was no longer apart of my life and I was broken. As time went by, I began repairing my broken pieces. More guys came straddling in as the years went along and walked right out. It began to feel normal. I began to accept the fact that no one guy would stay around forever to keep me overjoyed and jubilant. However, for the time being, each guy gave me a strange feeling. A feeling that filled my body up to the brim. It wasn’t the feeling of pleasure, but the feeling of being “loved” and “wanted”. When a guy would leave, I’d fall harder because of every emotion I kept inside. The emotions would spill out all at once. The guys would say “Alexys, it’s not that serious”, “Alexys you’re crazy”, “why are you so upset with me?”. I could never answer them honestly. Me opening up to them would be a door for them to walk through and rob every piece of privacy I had left and use it against me. I became paranoid and developed anxiety. I would sit in the dark at night, stare at my wall, and think about death.
“How can I ask God for forgiveness? He would never forgive me… I’ve broken too many rules. I do not even know why I am like this.” The guys were the main issue but deep down in my soul, I knew they were not the root to my problem. Every night I tried to fight my thoughts about death. It began to haunt me. I pictured demons picking at my skin and me missing the bus ride to Heaven. I felt the heat of the fire coming from the grounds of Hell. That is why I never wanted my feet to show when I slept. I was always afraid of the devil creeping up on me and dragging me from under the covers into his chambers of horror. I had a very negative mentality. People always wondered why I never opened my eyes or uncovered my ears during horror movies. I did not have the guts to tell them that I will dream about it for months and believe that one day I could be them. I was terrified. I hated going to sleep because I felt like I would never wake back up. I began seeing things differently as well. I would look around and ask myself “Am I living right now?”, “Can people see me?” I felt alone and distant from everything. I wanted to know what death felt like. Nonetheless, as I grew older, those thoughts began slightly vanish. It was a day to day process. Being that I experienced a lot at a younger age, I grew to know and figure out how to handle some situations without expressing myself and without guidance, but I always questioned myself; why did I let those guys have such an effect on me? Is that really all I’m good for? Why was I not good enough? I dug deep and then it hit me. I finally had a feeling as to why I felt this way but I ignored it… I did not want it to be true.
My mother told me a story about when I was little. I was around three years old and I was with both my parents. I was sitting in the living room watching television and I began to cry; hard. My father got angry and yelled “Why is she like this?! My sister was never like this. I hate it! Why can’t she be a regular baby?!” My mother didn’t think anything of it because she said “He was young; he was didn’t know what he was saying.” I never liked staying with my father. Since I was a little girl. He wasn’t nice to me. I wanted my mother to stay home all the time. My father was so routined; never genuine. His “I love you” seemed forced and his “you look beautiful today” seemed dishonest. He never apologizes. He just moves on, not knowing how I feel about the situation. I never hug him, kiss him on the cheek to say goodbye, or greet him with hospitality when he’d walk through a room. That was my life since I was a little girl, so I thought it was normal. Now that I’m older, it got worse and I sometimes wished my mother was a single parent.
I hardly ever listened to people tell their “good daddy” stories. It would hit one of my nerves but always ignored it. I hated hearing them, not realizing the exact reason why. I’m not a “daddy’s girl” at all, but I wish I was. My father is a good man. He makes sure I’m good in school, he provides for me, he takes me places, and makes sure I am in church, but that is not all a father is suppose to do. I wanted to be loved, pampered, joked around with, welcomed, comforted, and have a relationship with him. I felt like a robot that had to obtain all this information and figure out what to do with it on my own. I just needed a dad, not a Sergeant. I was probably not the best daughter but the difference between my father and I is I tried to be. He thought he was perfect, so it was not much for me to do. I do not hold grudges against people because I do not want the burden on my shoulders. The grudge I held against my father, however, refrained me from being able to live up to the expectations I had for myself.
Now I’ve let go of the grudge. He spoke positively about me, but it always felt insincere so I never acknowledged it. Each day, I continued to build a wall between us. I can not change a person; I can only change myself and hope they change too. I always remind myself of my own worth and purpose. The Bible taught me to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. I’ve loved others before loving myself. I know now that I am in control of what I allow to affect me. People will come in go, but those who truly stay are those who love you the most. My father never left, but most of the time it felt like he was never there. I had to apprehend that he is not like me. Now, I know my dad meant what he said, but he has no feeling. I love my father with all my heart and I thank him for being the man that he is because he helped mold me into the person I am today. He allowed me to see the greatness in myself, BY MYSELF. I thank God for exposing me to those struggles and taking me on that rocky journey. Those bottles aren’t completely empty, but I know they will never overflow. My view of acceptance is different now and the burden is lifted.
Due to my experience, I am able to guide other people who have similar problems. They confide in me because they trust me and my story. I am thankful for everything I went through. This allows me to get Engaged when I hear someone going through what I went through and hope to Lead them in the path of comfort, stability, and self-love. The more people who believe in themselves and overcome obstacles they felt would never be accomplished, will help Improve the World, which will carry on the legacy of Anne Frank and her compelling journey.
Museum of Tolerance: a Place Of Anne Frank’s Life Story
Field Work Project
My first stop for this fieldwork project was Museum of Tolerance, which is located in the city of Los Angeles. This is a museum that particularly covers Judaism (The Holocaust). The museum exhibit about Anne Frank and the history of this Jewish Family. The Museum is across the street from a gas pump and a chase bank. There is a giant poster Anna Frank’s exhibition’s poster on one side of the building. The front of the building is guarded by security. The museum provides free parking but does check your car for safety purposes. From when I was there, students from different schools were on a field trip, waiting to go inside. The ticket costs about $12.50 for students. The Museum is very welcoming to students, and people no matter what race or ethnicity. The museum gives an educational and meaningful approach to Anne’s and her family’s story.
The Museum of Tolerance doesn’t only focus on the Holocaust, it has an excellent exhibit for it. The Museum also tries to focus on other races, religions and ethnic groups. When you enter the Museum, you are given an orientation and from there you can roam around on your own. The exhibition started with a presentation by a Holocaust survivor, who delivered a powerful message describing his experiences being a little boy in hiding. As the section for the Holocaust section starts, you are given an identification card of a real-life Jewish child, who lived through the Holocaust. As the tour goes on, you get updated on that child’s story, where he’s at, how’s he doing..Then at the end, you learn if your “child” lived through the Holocaust or died by the hands of Nazis. In the presentation, the staff covered topics like hate speech, poverty, terrorism and war. One part of the museum was called “The Point of View Diner,” where we watched a movie based on intolerance, after that we were to ask questions about characters and talk about controversial topics.
The Museum also has a kosher cafeteria and there are also many other restaurants within walking distance. Other exhibitions in the Holocaust section include an archive of over 50,000 photos, which also included Anne Frank’s Original Letters. The Museum of Tolerance also has other exhibits on the struggles of civil rights, and videos that feature Rwanda and other hate groups.The exhibition was about two and half hours long. There is also the Anne Frank’s exhibit, which I didn’t get to visit. But from what I’ve heard the exhibition takes you through her life, the place she stayed at. The exhibition also has many of her original works and writings.
The Museum of Tolerance is a must -see, because it talks about a very important subject matter. Though the Holocaust is very hard subject to talk about or even think about, this museum approached it in a more educational way. When leaving the Museum, one can feel very empty because its hard to believe all this happened, and just imagining to be in their shoes can be very painful. The visit to this Museum has helped me learn and gave me a clear view of the Holocaust and the victims.Though this Museum couldn’t change my view of a certain religion, it has changed my view of the world, the museum and education center that delivers a very important and powerful message, which can teach us about our history, and how hate can affect us and the people around Us.
Our next stop after the Museum of Tolerance was Holy Land Exhibition. Which is located in Los Angeles. The museum is based on monotheist religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Museum is run by a mother and a daughter. The Museum is located in a Residential area. The white longhouse is located on the corner of the street. According to the two tourist guides, the house was established by Antonia Futterer in 1924. Antonia’s purpose was to help others acquire knowledge of the Bible. For two years, he went on a journey to search for “Lost Golden Ark of the Covenant.”
The five rooms in the museum are filled with authentic items and artifacts, from the holy lands. The tour lasted about two hours. We visited all five rooms in the Museum. The first room we visited was called “ The Damascus Room,” the room was filled with antique artifacts, like game tables, taborets, chairs, desks, and instruments. All the pieces in the room were originally brought from the Holy Lands. The next room we visited was called “Pharaoh’s Treasury,” which had an actual ancient Egyptian Mummy case from over 2000 year old in it. This room also featured many handmade art pieces. In this room, my brother and I were dressed in traditional clothes, that at one point were worn by villagers. Then the tour guide took a picture and talked about the customs and traditions that the Egyptian’s followed.
The third room after this was called “ The Archeology and Bible Art room.” This room was filled with artifacts. The room also features an old and new testament of the bible on hand-colored glass slides with over 300 paintings. The cases in the room feature antique oil lamps, tear bottles (which you literally collect your tears in). And many other Artifacts that Archeologists dug in Palestine, Egypt and other sites in other countries. The Second to last room we visited was called “The Jerusalem Bazaar.” This room was upstairs, which when you enter displayed a camp. Next to it was the “Bazaar of Jerusalem,” This bazaar featured a lot of souvenirs from different countries. On display were embroideries, lamps, and wooden hard work. In this room, you were able to buy the souvenirs, which would go for the donations and also pay for the tour.
Our final stop was the room called, “ The auditorium,” which was had chairs and desks like an actual classroom. The walls of the room were filled with artwork. The front of the room featured a map which the tour guide when over to give us an actual “ Bible System.”According to the tour guide, many of the artifacts and furniture used to be rented out to the film industry for movies and films, and I find that very interesting. The tour was very educational, it was amazing how the tour featured so much in such a small place. Though the tour guides main focused on the religion of Christianity, they didn’t fail to interest me about Islam and Judaism. By visiting this Museum I was able to learn about these religions more culturally and also understand their traditional values and morals in a better way. The tour was a hand on experience and if I could I would want to visit again later in my life, with my friends and family.
My third stop for this field work Project was The Thien Hau Taoist Temple. Which is located in Chinatown, Los Angeles. The temple is located in a quiet school neighborhood. There are metered spots for parking in this front of the temple and also a private lot in the back of the temple. The architect of this building is breathtaking, the temple features colorful interior. The temple is filled with complex details, embellish wood pieces, the temple has the same replica as the ones in Asia, there are also hanging lanterns in the temple. People from the temple were very welcoming and friendly.The temple is very clean and well maintained. There are places for one to sit or talk at. Also, tables where one can eat food or drink some tea. The temple also has this little section where they sell books and other items which are used for donations for the temple. The temple has a very peaceful aura and looks perfect for one to do meditation as well.
While awkwardly looking around the temple, I was able to meet this man name, Michael. He was very friendly and made this experience more special for me. He was very knowledgeable and knew the history very well. He took the time to tell me stories about the Temple’ tradition and legacy. After that, he showed my brother an I the 11 altars and explained the rituals that came along. According to Michael, to respectfully finish the process, when people enter the temple they go to the shrine and pick 11 sticks. Then the light them and go to each altar in the temple, then you place the stick near the altar. Then you pray and continue the process for all 11 Gods. After you are done, you pick up this paper, which is supposed to bring you luck. Also, each altar represents something, can’t remember each one. Oranges and fruits are also placed in front of the altars, which I believe is offered to the Gods.
The temple is also filled with music, like chants, sounds of drums, and gongs, which makes the temple a very spiritual feel and is also very relaxing to listen to. There is also a fortune telling tradition that is performed in front of the altar. The tradition is that one has to kneel in front of the altar and state the name, date of birth and where they live and a question. A cylinder contains numbered sticks which are rocked back and forth, and one is supposed to fall out. Which then is used to confirm the answer to your question.
People can even donate money to the temple. People may also leave bags of food which can also be used to make free meals for visitors and tourist. Another good aspect of the temple is that it offers free food on Saturdays to those in need. Coming to the temple made me realize that one doesn’t have to be Taoist or a believer of these religions to appreciate the aura and calm environment that you feel as soon as you walk through the doors of this temple.
My second to last stop for this project was at Hsi Lai Temple. The Hsi Lai Temple is located in Hacienda Heights. The beauty of this temple is breathtaking. The temple is located on the hill so the view from the temple is marvelous. Every step you take up the stairs, the temple gets even bigger. Because the temple was so big, I wasn’t sure where to start. There are statues in every corner of the temple. There are gardens filled with gorgeous flowers. The staff, as well as the monks, were very kind and friendly. The moment I stepped my foot in that temple, My whole body felt very relaxed. The detail in each room was astonishing and remarkable. There is also a lot of positive and calm energy in the temple. The entry to the temple and parking was also free. The temple does though accept donations.
There are two big statues of Buddha by the gate of the temple. When you enter the building, you will see a hall, which they called the “Bodhisattva Hall.” This hall has over 10,000 idols of Buddha, also a huge shrine in the middle of the hall, which people kneel down in front of to do a prayer. Inside, I met another student, who was studying the religion of Buddhism and visiting this place to learn more. We started talking about Buddhism and he explained the four noble truths of the world to me and then we walked over to the idol of Buddha which had the bunch of fruits offered to it. Which he explained that nothing in this world is forever, even fruits go bad over time so the best time to eat them is when they are still good. Which, was a nice lesson. I wanted to picture inside the temple but was told not to. So I got as much as could from the outside.The temple was so quiet that when people came in and out, you wouldn’t even realize. While they pray and offer their offering to the Buddha, you can hear the sound of monks chanting. It was beautiful and remarkable.
After this, my brother and I roamed around the temple for at least thirty minutes because it was that beautiful. there are various small fountains and artifacts. There is also a small museum and gallery which one can view by paying a dollar. Though I didn’t go inside the lady there explained that the gallery features the history of the temple and a picture of Buddhist temple in Taiwan. The temple also features a tea room, a gift shop and a buffet. My brother and I tried the buffet, which I’ll tell you were nothing like something you’d get at Panda Express. The food tasted very authentic and the tofu dishes were delicious. What I have learned from this trip is that you don’t need to be a believer of Buddhism to visit this temple. Going to this temple gave me a better view about the eastern religions. Though the Thien Hau Taoist Temple is way smaller than the Hsi Lai Temple, both feature the religion of Taoism and Buddhism astonishingly and with friendly staff it makes, it, even more, fun to learn about these religions.
My last stop was at the Riverside Mosque also known as the Islamic Community Center of Riverside, which is located in Riverside. Growing up in Southern California, Islamic Center of Riverside and Islamic Center of Redlands are our go-to places, to worship at. Riverside Mosque doesn’t quite look like a mosque rather an Islamic Center. Though I am a regular visitor at the Islamic Center in Redlands, I have visited the one Riverside at least twice. From my experience, ICCR of Riverside is that it’s very familiar to the one in Redlands. The Islamic community there is very nice and the place makes you feel at home. All ages of Muslims go to the mosque to pray five times a day and next to the Mosque is the Islamic Academy of Riverside, where Muslims learn how to learn the Quran and recite each prayer. Muslims come from all over the world so there is no barrier between races and ethnic groups in the Mosque.
The process for Muslims prayer starts with a “Wu-uh,” where one washes their hands, face, and feet. Then for women, you wear a headscarf and for men a cap to cover your head. Then, you get a prayer mat and recite your prayer. Just like Buddhism and Taoism, Muslims also rely on the spiritual sounds that can relax one’s mind, and provide a peaceful environment. But instead of listening to instrument or chanting, Muslims recite the Quran on a speaker for everyone to here. And when in the time of prayer, The recite the “Azan.” This way it’s easier for Muslims to follow along and also feel the beauty of the “Azan” within. ICCR also provide lectures and teaching covering the topic to Islam. Also, to remind us of what is right and wrong, and how we can fix our problems with the help of Allah.
The religion of Islam teaches one to be at peace, Muslims are the believers of one God. Muslims pray in a very formal way. Muslims don’t rely on meditation for their mind to be at peace or some exercises to distract us from thinking about worldly problems. When Muslims recite their prayers, we have to stand up, sit down, stand up, and bow while reciting our prayers. Just by doing this we can feel our minds at peace. We have steps and rituals to follow. Islam is a religion where people convert to Islam from different backgrounds. We are taught about our religion by teachers that run each Mosque. They play an important role, to teach us, Islam, correctly.
When I was visiting this Mosque, people were setting up tables for the “iftar.” This Saturday the month of “Ramadan” has started. Ramadan is where Muslims fast for a month from sunrise to sunset. This teaches Muslims to self-reflect and refrains from doing bad things like, cursing, smoking, gossiping, etc. Anyway so “Iftar” is the time for sunset, and ICCR every day takes this time to feed the needy and share food with fellow Muslims and neighbors. I am very proud to be part of this religion, just by each prayer my mind feels at peace, and the religion itself is very beautiful.