"Book Interpretation: The Main Themes in The Diary of Anne Frank" by Michael Cho
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, may seem like a rather overdone story to review, but the merits and lessons of this diary can’t be emphasized enough. The diary is written by a jewish teenager, and talks about the hardships of living in a secret annex due to Nazi occupation as she also goes through the trials of hiding and adolescense. The diary is addressed to a fictional character named “Kitty,” and Anne writes about her life, dreams, and thoughts. Through Anne Frank’s diary, one can learn greater truths through the thoughts of a teenage girl and experience first-hand the hate spread by the Nazis, while also experiencing the love and inexplicable kindness Anne received. Anne Frank’s diary inspires many to stand strong with their beliefs, shows perseverance and hope, and reflects the ideals of a teenage girl during a traumatic and violent period of history.
The supreme lesson that can be taken away from Anne Frank’s writing is to stand strong with your ideals even though everyone is opposing it. “I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out” (Frank 264). This was written in one of the final pages of the diary; Anne was writing about how she would not let the Nazis change her beliefs in herself and in humanity. Her diary inspires and echoes through different generations and sings with the message that everyone's voices should be heard and carried out. A teenage girl who knew that there was an entire dictatorship going against her beliefs still held onto them, just hoping that there would be a day where she would be allowed to publicly share them. It shows that if a teenage girl could use her beliefs to sustain herself, and still believed in them even when the war cost her her life, anyone should be able to hold out their beliefs through hard times.
One of Anne’s most fervent beliefs was that everyone, everyone, was capable of goodness. Anne stuck to this belief until the end, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death” (Frank 263). This was written by Anne when she thought the war might be coming to an end due to the news on the radio. This belief might seem naive, but Frank is a girl who has been through more in her young years than most adults will go through during their entire lifetime. Frank’s belief is important because it inspires people to be good and it reminds people everyone is good at heart and even a person who is going through a genocide of her people is willing to believe it. Anne also writes, “the bad is on the outside, and the good is on the inside” (Frank 267), reaffirming her belief that even the most vile people on the outside are still capable of having a spark of light inside them. In a situation that would leave most teenagers unstable, frantic, and pessimistic, Anne shows an astounding amount of maturity and kindheartedness.
Finally, amongst a war that is destroying every aspect of her life, Anne maintains her hope that light will eventually come back into the world, “I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right” (Frank 264). Anne heard the echoes of pain and misery engraved in concentration camps, but she had faith that the living would be freed and the dead would be in heaven with God.
Anne Frank clings on to her beliefs and hopes and uses perseverance to fight through the troubles of the War, of her family, and her adolescence. By reading about Anne’s life hiding in the Secret Annex, a reader will realize that Anne’s perseverance is what sustained her will to live. It takes a truly remarkable person to be in hiding, fearful every day that you and your family may be taken and killed, and to not only persevere, but not lose your hope. These themes are what make this diary endure through the decades, and the lessons we take from it cannot just help ourselves, but humanity as a whole.
Michael Cho is a high school Sophomore from New Jersey. He loves to write, play football, and spend hours practicing new moves in jiu jitsu.