Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank (play) Plot Analysis

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

What Happens in the Annex Stays in the Annex

Anne and her family, as well as another Jewish family and a family friend, move into the secret rooms behind Otto Frank's office in Amsterdam. The families cannot leave the small rooms or make noise during the day, and they have to depend on the kindness of two of Otto's employees to bring them food and other necessary items in secret. Anne's father gives her a diary and Anne begins to record her thoughts, feelings, and daily activities in it.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

Meanwhile, Back in the Attic

The residents begin their stay in the attic by trying to resume as many normal duties and routines as possible. All three children try to keep up with their studies (even though they don't know when they'll be going back to school). Mrs. Frank makes dinner, does laundry (in the sink), and continues darning socks, just like she's always done. There's a lot of discussion, reading, and everyday boredom going on. But after a while, being shut up in a box begins to take its toll on the residents. They become selfish, irritable, and increasingly more fearful of their situation. Mr. Dussel, a Jewish dentist, joins the crew and then there's even less food available to them. Anne continues to write in her diary as a form of escape.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

Somebody Snitched

One night during Hanukah, the families in the Annex hear loud noises coming from the offices below them. Terrified, they listen to hear what might be going on. Peter trips over a lamp and creates a huge racket. Then the noises stop. Mrs. Van Daan goes into hysterics and Anne passes out since she is so frightened. Mr. Frank goes downstairs to investigate. He comes back to tell them that it was a thief. The person ran away when he or she heard the noise from the attic. For the time being, the danger has passed.

Falling Action

We Smell a Rat

Peter and Anne begin having some convos in Peter's bedroom. Margot admits that she's just a bit jealous because Anne has someone to talk to. One night, Mrs. Frank catches Mr. Van Daan stealing food from the Annex storage bins and a wild uproar ensues. Mrs. Frank wants to cast out Mr. Van Daan, and it looks as though things might unravel pretty quickly. But Miep interrupts the argument to tell everyone news of the American invasion of Normandy, and this is able to lift everyone's spirits and the group resumes some sense of normalcy again.

Resolution (Denouement)

The End

One day, the telephone begins to ring. The group hasn't seen or heard from Miep in a few days. There's no one working in the building even though it's a Friday. Anne and Peter have a deep conversation about religion and their take on the world. Then a few cars pull up outside the Annex, and the group knows their time in hiding is at an end. The Annex residents are arrested and sent to concentration camps. Only Otto Frank survives. He returns to the Annex and Miep gives him Anne's diary.

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