Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank Mortality

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Anne Frank

We’re so fortunate here, away from the turmoil. We wouldn’t have to give a moment’s thought to all this suffering if it weren’t for the fact that we’re so worried about those we hold dear, whom we can no longer help. I feel wicked sleeping in a warm bed, while somewhere out there my dearest friends are dropping from exhaustion or being knocked to the ground. (11/19/1942.5)

Anne feels safe and does not focus on the fact that, despite her hiding spot, her life is still at grave risk.

Terrible things are happening outside. At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. They’re allowed to take only a knapsack and a little cash with them, and even then, they’re robbed of these possessions on the way. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared. Women return from shopping to find their houses sealed, their families gone. The Christians in Holland are also living in fear because their sons are being sent to Germany. Everyone is scared. Every night hundreds of planes pass over Holland on their way to German cities, to sow their bombs on German soil. Every hour hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of people are being killed in Russia and Africa. No one can keep out of the conflict, the entire world is at war, and even though the Allies are doing better, the end is nowhere in sight. As for us, we’re quite fortunate. Luckier than millions of people. It’s quiet and safe here, and we’re using our money to buy food. We’re so selfish that we talk about "after the war" and look forward to new clothes and shoes [. . .] (1/13/1943.3-4)

Anne describes the war outside and how all the suffering leads to death, but she does not connect these ideas to her own mortality; she feels safely removed.

I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky, surrounded by menacing black clouds. The perfectly round spot on which we’re standing is still safe, but the clouds are moving in on us, and the ring between us and the approaching danger is being pulled tighter and tighter. We’re surrounded by darkness and danger, and in our desperate search for a way out we keep bumping into each other. We look at the fighting down below and the peace and beauty up above. In the meantime, we’ve been cut off by the dark mass of clouds, so that we can go neither up nor down. It looms before us like an impenetrable wall, trying to crush us [. . .] (11/8/1943.5)

Anne recognizes that as safe as they are, the danger of death comes ever closer to her family.

I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for giving me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! (4/5/1944.4)

Anne begins to realize the possibility of her death, but seeks a way to find immortality through her diary.

That night I really thought I was going to die. I waited for the police and I was ready for death, like a soldier on a battlefield. I’d gladly have given my life for my country. (4/11/1944. 51)

Before this point, Anne never really thought she might die; when the police knocking on their disguised entrance to the Secret Annex, Anne must confront her mortality directly.

Once again you hear "shh" from all sides, and we’re doing everything more quietly. The police forced the door there; they could just as easily do that here too! What will we do if we’re ever . . . no, I mustn’t write that down. But the question won’t let itself be pushed to the back of my mind today; on the contrary, all the fear I’ve ever felt is looming before me in all its horror. (5/26/1944.6)

Anne seems to generally be aware of her mortality, but attempts not to ever allow its presence in her consciousness or even writing for fear it might come true.

I’ve asked myself again and again whether it wouldn’t have been better if we hadn't gone into hiding, if we were dead now and didn’t have to go through this misery, especially so that the others could be spared the burden. But we all shrink from this thought. We still love life, we haven’t yet forgotten the voice of nature, and we keep hoping, hoping for . . . everything. (5/26/1944.9)

Anne realizes what her fate would have been if she were not in hiding; her suffering is very strong but eased by hope.

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