The Diary of a Young Girl: Novel Summary: November 17, 1943 – January 30, 1944

November 17, 1943 – January 30, 1944Because of an outbreak of diphtheria, Bep will not be allowed to visit them for six weeks, which makes cooking and shopping difficult. Dussel quarrels with the van Daans, and Anne expresses more disparaging thoughts about him. One night she dreams of her schoolfriend Hanneli. She does not know what has happened to her. In the dream Hanneli looks at Anne helplessly, as if she is appealing to Anne to rescue her. Anne has forgotten Hanneli for a year but promises she never will forget her again. All she can do is pray that Hanneli survives the war.
On St. Nicholas Day, Anne and her father write a short poem for each person, and place the poem in a shoe in a laundry basket. It is all they have to give. Anne gets flu, but when she recovers she reports that she is in good spirits and everyone is getting along well for a change.
But the war seems at an impasse and because of this their spirits soon sink. A year ago, they had hoped that the war would be over by the end of 1943, and they would be free, but it is not to be.
On December 24, Anne reflects on what it is like to have been cooped up in the annex for a year and a half. She longs to ride a bike and dance, and just go out and have some fun. She receives a Christmas present for the first time in her life, and she dreams of her grandmother, who is terminally ill, and again of Hanneli.
At the beginning of 1944, Anne is in a reflective mood. On January 2, she confides to her diary her regrets about her conflict with her mother, which was so intense throughout the previous year. She writes that she has learned not to pass judgment on her mother, and has also learned to remain silent when she is annoyed with her. She still regrets, however, that she is unable to love? her mother with the devotion of a child. Four days later, however, it is clear that the conflict has not been resolved. Anne writes a long entry in which she says that her mother is not an example for her to follow, only an example of what not to do. She does not match up to what Anne thinks a mother should be. A mother should not poke fun at her when she cries, for example.
Annes loneliness leads her to befriend Peter van Daan. She had formerly regarded him as quiet and uninteresting, but now she tries to get him to talk to her. She also remembers a boy she used to know named Peter Schiff. She dreams about him and is convinced that he is the only boy for her. During one summer they were inseparable, going everywhere together. She recalls how they would walk hand in hand through the neighborhood, and realizes now that she is still deeply in love with him.
Anne also realizes that since the family went into hiding, she has become much more thoughtful than she was before. She tries hard to live up to her ideals, although she knows she falls short. She begins to ask herself deep questions about? human behavior. On January 22, she asks Kitty (the imaginary friend she addresses in her diary) why people go to such? lengths to hide their real selves, and why she herself behaves differently when she is in the company of others, and why people have so little trust in one another. She looks carefully at all the conflicts in the annex, and realizes that whereas before, she thought that her own family was always in the right regarding the? quarrels with the van Daans, she now thinks that it is the Franks who were mostly at fault. They should have used more insight into how to deal with others.
Although Anne finds to her surprise that she can talk naturally to Peter about such things as how to determine the sex of their cat, for the most part life is dull. On January 28, she reports that at mealtimes, they have all heard one anothers stories again and again. They know the punch line of every joke before it gets told. Anne, however, is full of praise for their helpers, the people who bring them their supplies, because they never complain and always do everything they can to help. She regards them as heroes.
On December 4, 1943, Anne sounds an important theme that will recur later: the value of her diary in getting her through this intensely difficult experience. She writes about the frustrations of her life in the annex, but at the end says, “Well, thats enough of that. My writing has raised me somewhat from the depths of despair.” Like many writers before and since, she is starting to learn the value of writing as a tool for self-understanding and for working out problems.
During this period also, Anne reveals a growing curiosity about sexuality, and notes the changes going on in her own body as she approaches sexual maturity. She finds it a relief to be able to talk in a natural way to Peter about the human anatomy. Her developing friendship with Peter, mentioned for the first time during these months, will become a vital part of Annes experience over the remainder of her time in the annex.