The Diary of Anne Frank

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.

The idea of secrets and hiding away – both literally and figuratively – are central to The Diary of a Young Girl. Just as Anne Frank and her family are secreted away in the Secret Annex adjacent to the Dutch Opekta Company, Anne finds herself secreting away aspects of herself from those around her. "Can you tell me why people go to such lengths to hide their real selves?" Anne wonders in her diary. "Or…

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Given that Anne's diary begins just as Anne hits adolescence, The Diary of a Young Girl is as much a story about growing up as it is a story of Jewish experience in World War II. In spite of her extraordinary circumstances, Anne grapples with many normal problems of adolescence: feelings of isolation, rebellion, and alienation; curiosity about adulthood; shifting attitudes towards those she once loved and admired (she realizes that her mother will never…

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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…

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Given the extreme circumstances of life in the Annex, Anne's exploration of human nature often focuses on generosity and greed. The adults around her buckle under the pressure of confinement and find themselves struggling between being generous (a vestige of their prewar life) and being greedy (which, to be fair, is what they often have to do in order to survive). Mr. Dussel, for example, often hoards food, and Anne takes him to…

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While Anne's diary is a remarkable evocation of a growing teenage girl under any circumstances, this is above all the narrative of a Jewish girl in the grips of World War II and the Holocaust. Anne is a girl forced to go into hiding with her family, and a girl terrified that she and everyone she loves will be killed. With every stray ring of the doorbell and knock on the wall, Anne is…

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