The Diary of Anne Frank

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Themes and Colors
Inner Self, Outer Self, and Isolation Theme Icon
Growing Up Theme Icon
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Human Nature: Generosity and Greed Theme Icon
World War II: Fear, Suffering, and Hope Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Diary of Anne Frank, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon

Although it's certainly an integral part of her journey from childhood to adolescence, Anne's sexuality, as well as her desire to love and be loved, deserves its own theme. Anne spends a lot of time puzzling out her sexual and romantic desires. What does it mean to be romantically involved with someone versus just being friends? For instance, Anne swears she's not in love with Peter van Daan (she argues that the only boy she ever truly loved was Peter Schiff), but many of the feelings she has for Peter van Daan could be characterized as love.

Anne inhabits a sexually repressed world – sexual matters aren't generally discussed with children, let alone taught in school. As a result, Anne spends a lot of time puzzling out what it feels like to be a sexual being, what it means to be sexually normal, and how sex works. Anne dedicates several journal entries to explaining the workings of human sexuality. Given the repressed environment she inhabits, Anne has no idea that some of her innocent ideas about sex could be considered scandalous. She writes unabashedly of touching her own breasts and of wanting to touch her best friend Jacqueline's breasts during her school days.

On a meta-textual level, sexuality was initially a sticking point when it came to the publication The Diary of a Young Girl. Mr. Frank – the lone survivor of the Frank family – heavily edited out Anne's unabashed speculations on sexuality and bodily functions. Later editions have restored the diary's original passages on sexuality. To this day, the sexually explicit nature of Anne Frank's diary (particularly due to the book's few, brief homoerotic passages) is controversial, leading to the book being banned in some libraries in the United States. Anne's examination of her own sexuality is part of what makes The Diary of a Young Girl so powerful – it offers an honest, unabashed portrayal of what it means to be human (and in this case, a teenage girl).

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Love and Sexuality ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love and Sexuality appears in each section of The Diary of Anne Frank. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Love and Sexuality Quotes in The Diary of Anne Frank

Below you will find the important quotes in The Diary of Anne Frank related to the theme of Love and Sexuality.
Year 1944 Quotes

I think spring is inside me. I feel spring awakening, I feel it in my entire body and soul. I have to force myself to act normally. I'm in a state of utter confusion, don't know what to read, what to write, what to do. I only know I'm longing for something…

Related Characters: Anne Frank (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hanneli Goslar
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

One Saturday in February, Anne has a longing -- perhaps to go outside, or to at least feel it be spring outside in a few weeks. Perhaps she wishes more than usual for the war to be over. In two days, though, this amorphous longing will be partially appeased when her connection with Peter begins to enliven. This suggests that, maybe, Anne's unexplained longing here exists because she believes that Peter is interested in Margot, and she is feeling the longings of a typical adolescent girl who is thinking about a boy. This young romance inserts a fresh dimension into the narrative, which is surprising in a story often so overshadowed by death.


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