The cheerful schoolgirl
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1929 to Jewish parents. After the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Anne’s parents flee to the Netherlands with Anne and her sister Margot, who is three years older. Until 1940, Anne lives a relatively sheltered and carefree childhood, in the comfort of her family. She attends elementary school and then the Jewish Lyceum.
After Hitler's forces conquer and occupy the Netherlands, Anne starts to be confronted daily with the merciless discrimination and persecution of Jews by the new occupation. The anti-Jewish laws restrict the rights of Jews significantly and attempt to separate them from the rest of Dutch society (2%). For example, since Jews are forbidden to ride the streetcar and, Anne's bicycle is stolen, the thirteen-year-old girl must walk the long way to the Lyceum every day.
Despite everything, Anne does not allow this to take away her courage and enjoyment of life. At the time Anne begins writing her diary, her family is “still doing well” and life with the restrictions on Jewish citizens “went on” (2%). Anne longs for a true friendship, but otherwise has everything a teenager could want:
I have loving parents and a sixteen-year-old sister, and there are about thirty people I can call friends. I have a throng of admirers who can’t keep their adoring eyes off me (…). I have a family, loving aunts and a good home. (1-2%)
Anne is very sociable and popular. Together with four other girls, she has formed a club that meets regularly to play table tennis (2%). In addition, several boys from her class are interested in her (2%), and shortly before going into hiding, even a sixteen-year-old acquaintance finds her interesting (4%).
At school, Anne is not quite as good as her brilliant sister Margot, but she is very ambitious: “I don't want to be a poor student.” (5%). Thanks to her imaginative and cheeky nature, she gets along very well with her teachers (3%).
Longing for trust and friendship
Anne feels a need for someone to confide in and true friendship since she continuously hides her true nature. Even when she is carrying on with her normal school routine and is surrounded by friends and admirers, Anne longs for a real friend - a friend who not only knows her outer side, but to whom she can reveal her true nature: “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.” (2%). This is exactly why Anne started writing her diary. She names it Kitty and hopes that it can replace an intimate friendship for her (2%).
In July 1942, when Anne and her family are forced to go into hiding in a secret annex in Amsterdam, her world is instantly turned upside down : “So much has happened it’s as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down.” (5%), she remarks in her diary. Moving into the secluded world of hiding intensifies her desire for trust and intimacy. While in school she was distracted by “friends and having a good time” (21%), being locked up in the secret annex, which offers her protection, allows her a lot of time to think about herself, her family, and her roommates.
Being the youngest resident of the secret annex, and the one who speaks her mind and is not nearly as well-behaved and well-adjusted as her sister Margot and her roommate Peter, Anne quickly becomes the target of adult criticism:
(…) my behavior, my personality, my manners; every inch of me, from head to toe and back again, is the subject of gossip and debate. (…) I know I have my faults and shortcomings, but they blow them all out of proportion! (13%).
The teenager thinks about her mood swings and her behavior and writes about them in her diary.
Although Anne is only thirteen years old, she is self-confident and strong enough to resist the adults` criticism: “I have no intention of taking their insults lying down. I’ll show them that Anne Frank wasn’t born yesterday.” (13%).
Maturity and self-criticism
After about a year in the secret annex Anne discover that she can avoid many quarrels by no longer being so honest and not speaking her mind straightforwardly to everyone. But she is still too temperamental and too strong-minded to let every reproach pass without a reaction from her: “Of course, I often forget my role and find it impossible to curb my anger when they’re unfair, so that they spend the next month saying I'm the most impertinent girl in the world.” (31%).
Although Anne tries to accept much of the criticism directed at her and laugh about it, she cannot prevent most of it from affecting her severely. She is relentlessly honest with herself and continually tries to reflect on and improve her behavior: “I’m not really as conceited as many people think; I know my various faults and shortcomings...