The Diary of Anne Frank

During World War II Anne Frank lived and died—probably one of the most vital, cunning and vibrant youths that has ever lived. This text sample is from her famous diary and expresses her concern for her friend Peter and his lacking ability to take his life in his own hands.

Thursday, 6th July, 1944

Dear Kitty,
My heart goes heavy when Peter says he may become a criminal or start to gamble. Naturally it is meant as a joke, but I have still got the feeling that he is afraid of his own weakness. Over and over again Margot and Peter tell me: "Yes, well, if I was as strong and brave as you are, if I could have my will the way you do, if I had such endurance, well then!"

Is it really a good trait that I am so uninfluenced? Is it good that I mostly follow my own conscience?

Honestly, I can't imagine how anyone could say "I am weak", and then continue to be weak. When one knows, why doesn't Peter do anything about it, why not build his character? His answer was: "Because it is much more comfortable." This answer made me a little bit depressed. Comfortable? Does a lazy and deceitful life entail a comfortable life? Oh no, it can't be true! It must not be true that convenience and money can seduce that quickly. I keep wondering what to answer him, how I am going to make Peter believe in himself, and most importantly, to improve himself. I don't know if my train of thought is right.

Some questions and themes

Strong and weak character

1. Do you have a strong character if you:

2. Consider the following examples. Are there situations when you can do these things without thereby necessarily having a weak character?

3. If you come to that you have a weak character, is there then any reason to that kind of fear that Anne claims that Peter has? Fear for what?

Freedom or character determinism

1. Margot and Peter claim it is easy for Anne to have a strong character because she seems to possess courage, willpower, endurance etc. in the first place.

2. Anne says she is uninfluenced. At the same time she asserts that she follows her own conscience. Couldn't we say then that she is influenced by her own conscience?

3. Anne can't understand that someone can realize their own weakness without doing anything about it, without trying to build one's character.

Page created: 27.09.06. Page last modified: 28.09.06 21:45.