Bryan While most of the works examined duringthe course are constructed as fictional allegories or presented from outsidethe time and/or space within which the Holocaust occurs, the Diary of a Young Girl presents a uniqueand unembellished perspective from which the atrocities are observed. As thetitle would suggest, it is a private account of the beginning of adolescentlife with the fog of Nazi rule in the background. What makes the journal moredistinguished is the deep intimacy the author has with herself; Frank knowsherself so well that the Holocaust does not serve to torture or perplex her butrather feed her innate curiosity of a blossoming teenager and inform herworldview and attitude towards humanity.
In other words, Anne remains separate fromthe Holocaust in that she doesn’t surrender her identity to the politicalparadigm as a victim or state enemy but her personality still matures along itslines – through the witness of human traits revealed through Nazi prejudice andbehavior. This is because, I believe, that Anne doesn’t have to remember theHolocaust but lives it as a tragedy-in-progress, which makes the diary sharplyobjective yet powerfully heart-wrenching and, most importantly, different fromthe works analyzed in class in a significant way. Primo Levi and Ruth Kluger,for example, are distanced from the Holocaust by time and they can only analyzethe effect of the Holocaust on their personalities through the memories thatstruck them the hardest after the fact. While these two authors might haveshared the feelings of isolation and alienation with Anne Frank during the Holocaust,only Anne Frank illustrates the wide-ranging effects of these feelings as sherecords them in real-time, which forms an important different between her diaryand If This is a Man and A Girlhood Remembered.
While these twoauthors I can pinpoint certain motifs employed and issues raised through whichthis difference can be thoroughly analyzed. “I getcross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad parton the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a wayto become what I’d like to be and what I could be if . . . if only there wereno other people in the world.” This ends Frank’s diary and while it was notintended to, it strikes the heart to see her time within the annex end on amanifestation of one of the book’s most prevalent and tragic themes: the inwarddichotomy of Frank’s selves; throughout the entire diary, Anne divides herselfinto two: the lively, excited, sociable Anne she exercises for the satisfactionof others and the melancholy persona known only to her. She herself is aware ofthis divide at an early age, though it starts to preoccupy her mind more andmore over time. Early-on in the entries she explains that though she is verysociable on the outside, she feels she does not have anyone to whom she can revealher inner self and regretting that she doesn’t.
This nurses a frustration thatshe does not know how to share her feelings, and she fears that this makes hera bad person. Thisstruggle with her two selves throughout the diary is what separates the diaryand the work with which it is most similar: Ruth Kluger’s Still Alive. Kluger’s observations of her childhood are blunt andunsparing, untainted by the illusions of early adolescence; after a lifetime ofcontemplation of her Auschwitz years, she has identified and picked her entireadolescent phase and her coming-of-age story is laid out in a somber greyscale andtoned by Kluger’s prideful attitude of resignation into a coming-to-termsmemoir.
Frank’s diary, on the other hand is written day-by-day, and her buddingwomanhood carried silently through Holocaust as it unravels. There is noafter-the-storm setting from which to look back and figure out what happenedand why, leaving only the slow education of Frank in the principles andcaprices of human nature. “Can youtell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves?” This is thequestion that Anne asks later on in the diary and gives us readers thesuspicion that Anne may be discovering that the feelings of alienation andcovert personalities that she experiences may be shared with others. Thiscontemplation prompts Anne to start thinking about others in terms of theirunderlying motivations and inner principles. Along the journey after this pointin the diary, not only does Anne starts signing her diary with “Anne M.
Frank”which represents a stronger sense of self, but her relationship with Peter vanDaan grows more pronounced and turbulent only to tangle the lines of tensionbetween the prisoners: both Mr. Frank and Mrs. van Dann express disapproval ofthe relationship at different points as the conversations and interactionsbetween the adolescents become more experimental and sexually charged.
This isall part of the personal odyssey on which young people embark when pubertydescends. You start to understand people more as layered beings rather thanjust flat personalities with obvious motivations and you start to discover and understandyourself better, forming habits and convictions based on the experiences you’vehad socially and with your family members.