Conveyance of Relevant Themes

Authors convey important messages around core topics in their texts, with the delivery of key messages often being one of the primary purposes of a text. Anne Frank’s monologic epistolary “The Diary of a Young Girl” details the experience of the eponymous character during her time in hiding as a young teenage Jewish girl in Amsterdam, amid the horrors of WW2. Anne Frank, through her diary, conveys important themes such as how war affects everyone, not just the physical combatants. Additionally, the text represents how optimism and hope can derive from the direst of circumstances. Through a thorough examination of Anne’s diary, the intent for communication of relevant themes is made crystal clear.

Firstly, “The Diary of a Young Girl” implies that war is devastating to civilians, emotionally and mentally, regardless of outside factors. This is represented by the discussion of the emotional and mental damage civilians suffer at the hands of the Nazis. Frank explains that “Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and many are waiting for death,” which conveys her perspective about who is affected by WWII. The repetition of the word “waiting” reinforces how uncertain and unclear the future was. Furthermore, when combined with Frank’s monotone, but serious articulation of the thought, in particular “waiting for death” demonstrates how ominous the future was, in Frank’s point of view. By reflecting the profound emotional, physical and mental repercussions for all that are affected by the war, Frank allows the audience to sympathise with the plight of civilian victims of war. Moreover, the visceral imagery in “children searching forlornly in the smouldering ruins for their dead parents,” when combined with the alliterative “dull, distant drone that signified the approaching destruction” vividly describes the aftermath of the bombing of Amsterdam. Children are the literal embodiment of purity and innocence, seeing them stripped of the ideals they represent in the devastation of war provides a clear argument to the reader about the evils of war. This example is a perfect representation of the reality of Frank’s context, encouraging the audience to comprehend the fact that war does not only affect the soldiers, but also civilians, just not in the physical way expected. The author, through a variety of literary devices, has very effectively communicated her theme about war’s effects.

Furthermore, the novel highlights how from dangerous situations, newfound positive feelings such as gratitude and happiness can arise. Everyone in the Annexe is obviously in mortal danger yet death is of secondary importance in her writing, which is clearly reflected throughout her diary. “I see the eight of us in the Annexe as if we were a patch of blue sky, surrounded by menacing black clouds,” illustrates Frank’s rather mature and optimistic mentality. Frank uses a metaphor in conjunction with a euphemism to represent her circumstances in simple terms. Despite the dire situation she finds herself in, she manages to find solace and comfort in the relative safety that the Annexe provides in contrast to the outside world. This example reflects how Frank sees the situation, a sign of her maturity and positivity in stark contrast to teenagers of her time who may have viewed the situation as helpless. The juxtaposed “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that remains,” showcases Anne’s perseverance and strength to cope with her current situation. The misery synecdochally represents the gamut of emotions associated with war; sadness, grief, anger among others, while beauty represents victory, happiness and gratitude. This reflects her own mindset on issues to the audience, displaying how powerful of an impact positive thinking can have in preventing Anne’s descension into depression as a result of her circumstances. Frank has managed to convey the need for positivity in the face of overwhelming horror effectively through her diary using literary techniques.

To conclude, using her diary as a medium, Anne Frank has informatively communicated several key themes relevant to her era and perspective, uniquely affected by her context. She effectively conveys that war negatively affects civilians, whether that be directly or indirectly. Another theme that is in her diary is that positive feelings can be unexpectedly elicited from the most dangerous of situations. Again, Anne Frank has been immensely successful in relaying her message to the world with her diary continuing to be an influential text for the foreseeable future.


These stories were written in our Factory Feedback program, which was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.