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Analysis: Tone

Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?

Youthful; Optimistic with Jolts of Anger, Irony, and Humor

No shocker here: the tone of the diary of a thirteen-to-fifteen-year-old girl is youthful. To be fair, Anne does have many surprisingly mature insights into life, war, interpersonal relationships, and much more. But this is always set against the generally youthful tone of her writing... and this makes the diary that much more poignant.

She has concerns like boys, arguments with her parents, and friends. She frequently talks about wanting to be grown up already and she often gets all giddy about the boy she likes:

In the meantime, things are getting more and more wonderful here. I think, Kitty, that true love may be developing in the Annex. All those jokes about marrying Peter if we stayed here long enough weren’t so silly after all. Not that I’m thinking of marrying him, mind you. I don’t even know what he’ll be like when he grows up. Or if we’ll even love each other enough to get married. (3/22/1944.2)

It's passages like the above that make Anne such a totally relatable narrator. Who hasn't felt this way—especially at fourteen?

Anne’s writing also tends to be optimistic. She seems to be like her dad in that way. She is generally optimistic about life within the Secret Annex, and thankful for her family’s protection. But at times Anne can complain or grow angry about conditions or how others treat her, or be righteously angry at fellow Annex members for being selfish:

I should explain that yesterday was November 16, the first anniversary of his [Mr. Dussel’s] living in the Annex [. . .] instead of taking the opportunity to thank us – for the first time – for unselfishly taking him in, he didn’t utter a word. (11/17/1943.3)

She cleverly points out ironies in her domestic life and the political situation she’s wrapped up in, and can’t resist scribbling down hilariously snarky quips about fellow members of the Secret Annex.

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