Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank (play) Act 2, Scene 4

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Act 2, Scene 4

  • The tension is so high in this scene that we can almost snap it in half.
  • The frenetic dialogue of the crazed annex residents and the consistent ringing of the telephone tell us just how scared the families were that this could be the end.
  • Miep is MIA and no one has come to work in the building below, even though it's a normal Friday.
  • The hysterics climax with Mrs. Van Daan totally freaking out and saying that she'll kill herself, which of course is followed by an argument between she and Mr. Van Daan.
  • But then, it is contrasted with Peter and Anne, peacefully gazing together at the sky. In what is almost a religious experience, they reflect on their time in the annex and how difficult it has been.
  • Anne's words are poetic as she tells Peter how her imagination has saved her from going crazy. Peter's response shows his down-to-earth character as he gets mad at the hopelessness of their situation.
  • Anne puts him to shame as she tells him about the goodness of the world: "When I think of all that's out there… the trees… and flowers… and seagulls… when I think of the dearness of you, Peter… and the goodness of the people we know… Mr. Kraler, Miep, Dirk, the vegetable man, all risking their lives for us every day… When I think of these good things, I'm not afraid any more… I find myself, and God" (2.4.97).
  • We're left in awe of how one person can be that at peace with her situation.
  • Anne's faith in the world continues to her most famous line in her diary "I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are really good at heart" (2.4.98). There aren't many of us who could say that, given the same situation.
  • Anne and Peter watch the sunset, but are interrupted by the harshness of reality. The group has been found out.
  • The stage directions relay the rest of the story as the realization that they are going to be arrested dawns on each of the characters.
  • The soldiers break down the annex door and allow the residents five minutes to pack their clothing. They aren't allowed to take anything else.
  • Anne's voice closes the scene as she asks Miep to keep her diary safe for her.

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