Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Peter Schiff

For Anne, Peter Schiff serves as a symbol of desire and love. She pins all her longings on memories of him. When Peter Schiff and Peter van Daan become "one" in her head, she finally admits that she is falling in love with Peter van Daan.

Lies, a school friend

Anne dreams about her school friend Lies and imagines that terrible things have happened to her. Lies becomes a symbol of guilt and gratefulness. Anne feels somehow that she should have managed to save Lies. The fact that something terrible has probably happened to people she loves reminds Anne how grateful she should be to the people who have protected her family.


At many points in her diary, Anne expresses her desire to grow up so that her family will take her seriously. She hopes desperately to have her period, thinking of it as a physical sign of adulthood. While her period doesn’t bring her family to respect her maturity, she continues to enjoy it as a "sweet secret."


Anne’s dream is to become a writer. She writes fiction stories and hopes eventually to become a journalist. As her time in the Secret Annex wears on, and fear for her life increases, Anne expresses a desire to be made immortal through her writing. Thus her journal, which she hopes to use as the basis for a later published work, and her writing in general, become the symbol of the ability to live beyond one’s death.

Westertoren clock

Anne loves the sound of the Westertoren clock, which signals every quarter of an hour. To her, it feels like a faithful friend. It is reassuring. One night when it fails to chime while they are sitting in silence because there is a burglar outside, she feels deserted and afraid.

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