04-17-2010 03:33 PM - edited 04-17-2010 03:37 PM
Geez - With our literary criticism book and the threads on the PBS film, I'm just now noticing that it appears I neglected to set up a thread for the book itself - shame on me! My apologies.
Well, we have a couple of weeks left on this for the featured selection of April. I hope you'll feel free, if you're currently reading or re-reading this one, to let us know some of your thoughts.
If you read DAF a long time ago and have not read the newer version, you might want to take a look at it. The PBS film goes along much more with that one.
Otto Frank (Anne's father) edited her diary before publication years ago. As her father and a man of an earlier generation, he omitted many of her passages about her growing sexuality, her difficult feelings toward her mother, etc. that many readers today are more used to seeing. Putting these passages back in makes the diary read fuller for some readers - shows Anne being more inclusive and truthful about what was happening to her as a young girl at the same time that she and her family were in hiding. Many readers find the new version more realistic of a girl that age.
Still, in either the older version or the new, her writing attracts readers by its honesty and clarity. She makes the Secret Annex a place where many people later learned important truths about the Holocaust.
04-30-2010 12:48 PM
Well, I didn't want to let the month end by totally neglecting the book! I'm not really sure what to say about it, though. It is such a classic and well-known story, and a very, very sad reminder of a horrific period in history. The fact that they were captured so very close to the end of the war makes it that much worse.
I couldn't believe that they were able to remain that long, undetected. Although I suspect that some people who may have suspected were also sympathetic, and didn't pursue their suspicions. I was often confused by trying to figure out their schedule, and exactly when they could or could not make noise. Were they sitting motionless for eight or more hours at a stretch? I know that Anne was rather specific, but I still found it confusing. Also, it appeared that they were always at risk, any time of the day, of being overheard by people in the buildings on either side. And yet, they often seemed to be doing normal everyday tasks, and it seemed like they often had loud arguments! I also wondered why nobody seemed to realize that the building was obviously several stories higher than was accessible inside.
I have to admit that I found Anne herself to be very egotistical, arrogant, and irritating. Not that she didn't have good qualities, too, but her attitude towards others was so condescending. I noticed this even before the family went into hiding. When she described her classmates, she had bad things to say about just about every one of them, including the ones that she said were her best friends. On the other hand, she seemed to think that every boy was bound to fall hopelessly in love with her if she even said a few words to him, so she would avoid doing so so as not to break their hearts. Her contempt for her mother was shameful, and she often felt contemptuous towards her father and her sister, too, even though she also loved her father. When she fell for Peter (the one in the Annex, not her former crush), and became obsessed with him, she was also condescending to him. I felt kind of sorry for him. She thought she was more intelligent and knew better than everyone else. At least there were times when she realized this and wrote so in her diary, and that she wanted to change. And I do believe that over time she probably became gradually more tolerant and tolerable. But she certainly left an important legacy behind her. At one point, after she had decided that she wanted to be a writer, she said something about wanting her words to live forever. And they will.
Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
05-02-2010 09:40 AM
I think Anne had a negative attitude towards people because she thought people had a negative attitude towards her. She held a lot of contempt for her mother and as a child I think she was too sensitive and as she grew up in the annex she tried to step outside the box and be objective but it was slanted because she couldn't observe her mother in the real world except her memories which were tainted by Anne's own feelings. She thought her mother was cold but I think her mother had to put on a fascade in order to cope with being in the annex. All the different personalities clashing and mixing made it hard for anyone to be "normal".