Study Guide

The Diary of Anne Frank (play) Perseverance

By Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

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Picture this: a shiny brand new car. It's yours free if…

… you can live inside it for four weeks. Here are the rules: you're only allowed two, ten-minute breaks each day to use the restroom and to take a shower. Otherwise, you're inside it every day, twenty-four hours a day, eating, sleeping, and everything in between. There are no electronics allowed during this contest—only what you can get on the radio, which by the way, only broadcasts one station: the news. Oh, and one more thing—there are three other people living in the car with you, trying to win the car too. You need to outlast them in order to win. Think you can do it?

Does this scenario sound familiar? This is a lot like Anne Frank's story, except for the part where her life is in jeopardy at every single moment. Anne just can't tap out and say, "I'm done." Oh yeah, and she doesn't get to win a car in the end either. But if you can imagine sharing living arrangements the size of an SUV, you can imagine what it took to survive life in the annex.

Interestingly, Anne's story is one about survival, rather than death. It's a theme that the playwrights of The Diary of Anne Frank really wanted to focus on, and we're glad they did. Anne's infectious, unrelenting positivity is pinned against the greater backdrop of hatred, violence, and fear. The fact that the residents have survived this long is a more than a miracle. It's pure persistence.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. How do each of the residents deal with survival differently?
  2. But what does "survival" really mean for our friends in the attic?
  3. What's required of the characters in order for them to keep going, day after day?
  4. What lessons in persistence does Anne show us?

Chew on This

The only way the characters are able to persist in their situation is by sticking together.

The play shows us how persistence is an uneven thing. Some days you can take on the world; some days you just want to crawl back under your bed.

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