Anne Frank was a young girl with a vivid imagination and a vibrant, outgoing personality. This was evident in the way she wrote her diary. For example, she gave her diary the name of “Kitty” and wrote her entries as if she was sharing her deepest secrets with a cherished friend. This creativity is one of the reasons that her diary remains so popular and seems so fresh today, even sixty-seven years after it was written.
Anne’s writing style was more than just an expression of her personality. It was also a way of resisting the terrible effects of her life in hiding. As an outgoing person, Anne thrived in a world full of friends and acquaintances. This type of environment was important for her personal growth and maturity. It was devastating for her to be isolated in the secret annex, away from a variety of relationships with people her own age. To make up for what she was missing, Anne often created imaginary scenarios from incidents and memories from her past. In essence, she acted out dramas on the stage of her mind, trying out roles that she could not experience in the cramped quarters of the hiding place.
This is what Anne was doing on January 7, 1944, when she wrote about a boy named Peter Wessel. She had known him and had a crush on him when she was in elementary school. Now, in the annex, she imagined him as the long-lost love of her life. She wrote, “Who can help me know? I must live on and pray to God that He will let Peter cross my path when I come out of here, and that when he reads the love in my eyes he will say, ‘Oh Anne, If only I had known, I would have come to you long before! … Oh Petel, Petel, how will I ever free myself from your image? Wouldn’t any other in your place be a miserable substitute? I love you, and with such a great love that it can’t grow in my heart any more but has to leap out into the open and suddenly manifest itself in such a devastating way!”
It was natural and appropriate for Anne’s mind to turn to romance, but in the isolation of hiding she had no opportunity to interact with boys in a realistic and meaningful way. Anne’s writing was not just an outlet for her creativity, but also a substitute for the experiences she was denied by her circumstances.
You may learn more about Anne and her diary at AnneFrank.com.
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