Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, is an extraordinary diary because it was written while the writer was in hiding during World War 2. Anne was a Jew in a time when the Jews were severely mistreated by Adolf Hitler and the Germans. On one level, this book gives a first hand experience of the cruel persecution suffered by the Jews. However, upon deeper examination, this book also shows an important view on life, that growth happens when there is suffering.
Anne was a relatively spoiled, emotional girl during the first few months of being in hiding. Although she had an easier time than most Jews, the amount of suffering she endured was no small amount. To paint a picture for the reader, for over two years, Anne shared a small house with seven other people, with limited food and supplies. On top of that, they lived in constant fear of being found out by the Germans. It didn’t help that the people she lived with were really mean to Anne because she was the youngest of the group. The quality of Anne’s writing was limited to complaints over small things. Fortunately, this pattern didn’t last long.
We can see a change in Anne happening slowly, but surely. As she matured, what she wrote about changed. Before, it was about how terrible her food was. Near the end of her life, she was writing about how she felt really sad for the people who were not as blessed as she was. She started writing about her own faults instead of the faults of other people in her house. Keep in mind, Anne is not allowed to leave the house for over two years! Her growth was the result of many things, but the biggest cause of her growth is because of the suffering she endured.
Suffering challenges one to choose one of two paths — the path of bitterness and hatred or the path of compassion and nobility. Anne’s situation pushed her to take one of these paths and we can see from her diary that she took the right one. She never stopped believing in the basic goodness of man despite everything she was going through. We see this in one of her last entries in her diary — “It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart (Frank, p. 414).” It is truly amazing that Anne could say this.
Anne and the people living with her were found by the Germans after staying hidden for over two years. They were all arrested and taken to different prisons, camps, and jails. Anne, as well as her sister, tragically died of typhus in a concentration camp. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only survivor. He found Anne’s diary and knew that it was Anne’s wish to have it published so he did. Though Anne died a terrible death, her story lives on, showing everybody that she never failed to believe in the basic goodness in man. It is truly incredible that she still believed this after everything she went through. This amount of growth was possible because of the suffering she endured and how she chose to respond to it. Through Anne’s story, we see that tremendous growth happens when there is extreme suffering.