CBSE Class 10 – Literature -First Flight — From the Diary of Anne Frank -Explanation and Q & A

From the Diary of Anne Frank

Anne Frank wrote her diary when her father Otto Frank along with four of her friends went into hiding in his office building. They successfully evaded the prying eyes of the Nazi police, until an informer disclosed their hide-out. From the self-imposed solitary confinement in Netherlands, the family was moved to the Nazi concentration camps in Germany, where Anne succumbed to typhoid days after the death of her sister. Otto Frank survived the ordeal till he was freed following the defeat of the Nazi forces. He returned to his abandoned office building where he stumbled upon Anne’s diary that had miraculously remained, intact. He got the diary translated from Dutch to English, and had it published. Since then, the book has been translated to almost all languages and read by millions. Till date, it remains the most gripping account of an innocent young victim’s battle with fear and loneliness.

The story ..  

Anne Frank decided to write a diary to unburden her mind.  ….Anne Frank was just 13, when she began to write her diary, for the first time in her life. She wondered, if ever, anyone in the world would care to read her diary. But, she decided to continue as there were so many emotions boiling in her heart during those times. Writing them down could unburden herself, she assumed.

A lonely room, and not even a friend ….She was confined to a solitary room. Having to spend her time like this greatly added to the unease and torment inside her. She got a small note book to scribble her thoughts on, and decided that she would never ever show this private record of her restless mind to anyone in the world, barring her closest friend. The paper lay in front of her, still and impassive, resigned to its fate. She concluded that paper has more patience then people. This single line summed up the desperation and dejection she endured then.

She had no friend, no one to confide in. She felt a diary can work as a friend, because it was privy to all her emotions. 

She had a large family while in Germany, but no soul-mate. Anne had her loving parents, her aunts, her elder sister, and thirty or odd other individuals living with her. However, the fun-loving Anne couldn’t develop intimacy with any of them. At times, she felt it was her shortcoming that she couldn’t be very close to anyone. She very much wanted to have a bosom friend, but she couldn’t. So, she felt, a diary could play the role of a friend with whom she could communicate freely and very intimately. This made her write her diary.

She wanted to write a dairy, as if it was her friend …..She wanted to write a non-conventional diary that would have the deepest emotions of her heart written on it. It was to be as close to her heart as possible. She decided to call it ‘Kitty’.

Anne wrote the diary in her own inimitable way. She feared others might find it quite intelligible. So, she decide to give an explanation to the background of her foray into diary writing.

Her family’s brief history …Her father, whom Anne adored a lot, married her mother when he was thirty six, and she twenty five. Margot, her sister was born in Frankfurt 1926. Anne was born three years later, in June 12, 1929. Anne lived in Germany until she was four years old. In 1933, her father decided to move to Holland. Her mother, Edith Hollander Frank, accompanied her father. Her elder sister, and Ann were sent to Aachen to stay with their grandmother. Margot, her elder sister moved to Holland in December, and she in February. Anne remembers humorously how she was plunked down on the table as a birthday present to Margot.

Her fond memories of her school. …Anne Frank recalls her Montessori school days. She was there till she turned six. When she reached the sixth form, she got to know her head mistress, Mrs. Kuperus.  Anne had to bid her a tearful goodbye at the end of the year.

The summer of 1941 didn’t go well for her. Her grandma had to undergo a surgery, and so, her birthday passed off quietly. Her grandma died in 1942 leaving a scar in Anne’s heart that didn’t heal with time.

Oral Comprehension check …

  1. What makes writing in a diary a strange …………… Anne is just 13, when she sets out to write her diary. She has no idea about the matter. Instead, she has a lot of pent-up feelings to give vent to. She is also aware that no one would ever read it. Such innocence and her tender age make writing a diary a strange experience for her.
  2. Why does Anne want ………..Anne has many friends, but no intimate one. Her mind carries a big load of feelings and emotions that she wants to narrate, but there is no one to confide in. So, she wants to write a diary which can act like a listener.
  3. Why did Anne think ………………….. Anne had no bosom friends to whom she could unravel her mind’s deep corners. She wanted her feelings to remain private. A diary is an innocent object that records everything, and does not proactively disclose itself to others. This is the reason Anne wanted to write a diary.

The 1942 birthday celebration was a bit more joyous to make up for the previous year’s loss, but a candle was kept alight in memory of her grandma.

As Hitler’s clamp-down worsens, the gloomy period starts ..Till June 20, 1942, Anne recalls she was with her parents and her sister. This was a watershed day in her life, and she dedicated this day for her diary.

Her diary ..

Kitty takes shape ..It starts with the words, ‘Dearest Kitty,’.

The usual classroom funk on the result day. ..The whole class was very nervous because that day the teachers were to declare who was promoted to the next class, and who was detained. Her friend whom she identifies as G.N is giggling away her time with Anne to see the misery in the face of the two boys who sat behind them. An unknown fear had gripped the whole class.

Anne knew she and her female friends would go to the next class. She had a mild apprehension about Mathematics, but she joined her friends to wait it out, engaging in light humour.

Anne remembered her teachers fondly. Out of nine of them, seven were men, and two were women. 

Her encounter with the grumpy Mathematics teacher …..Mr. Keesing, the Maths teacher was not among Anne’s favourite teachers, because he didn’t like her extreme talkativeness. After some warning, he lost his patience and asked her to write as essay titled ‘The Chatterbox’. She didn’t quite know what to write. Nevertheless, she jotted down the name and kept t inside.

The same evening, after finishing her usual homework, she sat down to write the essay. She thought about ideas how to underscore the virtues of talkativeness. She finally wrote her essay in three pages, conceding that she would rein in her talkative habit. At the same time, she maintained that talkativeness is a trait she inherited from her mother, and this is why she couldn’t leave it altogether.

The humour-loving Anne scores a victory over the stern Mr. Keesing. — A change of heart. ……..Mr. Keesing was amused to see her essay. As expected, she couldn’t quite curb her talkativeness. This time, Mr. Keesing gave her another essay to write. Its name was to be ‘An Incorrigible Chatterbox’. She submitted her essay. For next two classes, she remained subdues. Soon, her old habit surfaced again. Mr. Kessing was miffed. He asked her to write her tird essay, “Quack, Quack, Quack. Said Mistress Chatterbox”.

The whole class was greatly amused at Anne’s cost. She wanted to hit back. She decided to write the whole essay in poem form.

Oral comprehension check ….

  1. Why was Mr. Keeing annoyed …………. Anne was a very talkative girl, wxho disrupted the class by her ceaseless chattering. Mr. Keesing, a stern person didn’t approve of Anne’s playfulness.
  2. How did Anne justify .. She wrote out the essay assigned to her by her teacher and remained quiet for two classes. She also said that talkative nature is one of her mother’s traits. She had inherited it, and so couldn’t give it up easily.
  3. Do you think Mr. Keesing was … Yes, he was somewhat strict.
  4. What made Mr. Keesing to talk in the class…. Her last essay was written in poem form that lightened the mood of her teacher. He stopped chiding her for her talkative nature. That gave her the leeway to resume taking in the class.

————————–To be contd——————-

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