Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
“ ‘How can I have changed so much?’ ‘It was quite a different Anne who enjoyed that heavenly existence from the Anne who has grown wise within these walls.’” These are just some of the words that Anne wrote in her diary, nearly two years after her family went into hiding. But what do they mean? Anne Frank’s life was altered dramatically at the age of thirteen, and despite of this, she changed and matured atypically for an isolated young girl.
First of all, Anne matured mentally and grew in knowledge during her time in hiding. Even though confined in the Secret Annexe, her family managed to provide her with the tools and books for learning and she continued her education. This also passes all of the dull and endless hours she spent in the Secret Annexe. Anne says on July 11, 1943, “Ordinary people simply don’t know what books mean to us, shut up here. Reading, learning, and the radio are our amusements.” Anne obviously enjoys writing and perfects the art hoping to make herself a legacy from it. On April 4, 1944, she says, “I want to go on living even after my death! And therefore I am grateful to God for giving this gift, this possibility of developing myself and of writing, of expressing all that is within me.” Anne knows God has given her a gift with words and uses this opportunity in confinement to develop that gift.
Anne also grew in the maturity of her relationships with others. She pushes herself away from her father and mother in the Secret Annexe, and feels the need to talk to someone her own age. She says on March 16, 1944, “Thank goodness the others can’t tell what my inward feelings are, except that I’m growing cooler towards Mummy daily, I’m not so affectionate to Daddy and I don’t tell Margot a single thing. I’m completely closed up.” She slowly starts to open up to Peter and tell him about what she feels about certain things and people in her life. The choices Anne makes are interesting. Instead of opening up, and becoming closer to her family while in hiding, she feels the urge to separate herself. Anne’s relationship with God also changes throughout her time in hiding. In the beginning, she rarely refers to God, whereas towards the end, her references become more frequent. She even becomes hurt when Peter mocks religion. She says on July 6, 1944, “He [Peter] has no religion, scoffs at Jesus Christ, and swears using the name of God; although I’m not orthodox either, it hurts me every time I see how deserted, how scornful, and how poor he really is.”
Third, suffering is a means by which Anne matures. Paul says in Romans 5:3-4, a “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Suffering is one of the major ways God shapes a person’s life and in this case, Anne Frank’s suffering leads to maturity. Anne says on November 20, 1942, “But it often makes my head swim if I’m jumped upon too much, and then on top of that have to think about all those other miseries!” Having to remain confined and quiet was exceptionally hard for Anne. In school she was known as the chatterbox, and before she went into hiding, led a very socially oriented life. After a particular meal, Anne ponders and writes that it seems like she just can’t escape being miserable. “A good hearty laugh would help me more than ten Valerian pills, but we’ve almost forgotten how to laugh ” (Sept. 16, 1943). Even later during her time in hiding, she says, “I have now reached the stage that I don’t much care whether I live or die. The world will still keep on turning without me; what is going to happen, will happen, and anyway it’s no good to resist. I trust to luck and do nothing but work, hoping that all will end well” (Feb. 3, 1944). Anne starts to realize at this point that anything could happen to her. She shows new maturity in this realization and even more in the fact that she does not give up, given the possible outcomes. She resolves to keep her hopes up and keep working to the end. That shows both true maturity and resolute courage.
Anne Frank did change by grow in maturity, to a level far above most girls of her age. She did this by gaining mental knowledge, uniting and separating herself from others in hiding with her, and enduring the suffering and hardships that arose in her life. The Diary of Anne Frank has been published and is read worldwide today. Anne seems to have gotten her wish, “to go on living even after [her] death!”