English : First Flight

Chapter 4 From the Diary of Anne Frank

-by Anne Frank


The extract is an excerpt from the personal diary of a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl who witnessed the horrors of the Nazi rule at the time of World War II. She wrote this diary while hiding in an attic with her family and four others in Amsterdam during the German occupation of Netherlands. This excerpt in not a traditionally recorded diary but is an insight into the thoughts of a young girl and her ability to write creatively.


Anne Frank considers diary writing to be a strange experience. She gives two reasons for this. Firstly, she has never written anything earlier and secondly, she thinks that neither she nor anyone else would be interested in the thoughts of a teenager. However, she feels an inner compulsion to write, so she decides to pen down her thoughts.

One day, when Anne was feeling unhappy and depressed, she recalled the saying that ‘paper has more patience than people’. She continued to brood about this thought and concluded that it was indeed right. She decided that she would not let anyone, other than a true friend, read what she would write in the stiff-backed notebook – her ‘diary’.

She records that the reason which prompted her to write a diary is that she does not have any friend. Clarifying the absence of a true friend in her life, Anne says that she might have seemingly friendly people around her (loving parents, a sixteen-year-old elder sister, thirty friendly people, and loving aunts) but a true close friend is missing. She can talk only about ordinary things to these people but she cannot share intimate secrets with anyone of them. She accepts that her reserved nature prevents her from having any close friends. She decides to write a “diary” as she feels that her nature is not likely to change.

She considers her diary to be her imaginary “long-awaited” friend and names it ‘Kitty’. She also resolves to adopt a novel method of writing it because nobody would understand a single word of what she writes, if she begins writing straight away. So, she gives a brief sketch of her family in the beginning.

Anne writes that her father is an adorable man and had married her mother when he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. Her elder sister, Margot, was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1926 and she herself was born on 12 June 1929. She lived in Frankfurt until the age of four and in September 1933, her father emigrated to Holland accompanied by her mother, Edith Hollander Frank. Meanwhile Anne and her sister were sent to Aachen to live with their grandmother. However, in December that year, her elder sister-joined her parents while she reached later on Margot’s birthday.

In Holland, she was admitted to the Montessori nursery school. Giving an interesting description of her school life, Anne makes a special mention of Mrs. Kuperus, her teacher in the sixth form and the headmistress of the school. She was so dear to her that they both had a tearful farewell at the end ofthe year.

Anne’s grandmother fell ill in the summer of 1941 and had to be operated upon. So, Anne had a simple birthday celebration that year. Sadly, her grandmother died in January 1942. Remembering her fondly and lovingly, Anne’s birthday celebration in June 1942 had a candle lit for her grandmother along with the rest.

Anne next writes about June 20,1942 – an account of her classroom experiences. She writes in her diary that her entire class was terrified and nervous because the school teachers were going to have a meeting to discuss the annual results. However, Anne and her friend G. N. had a hearty laugh at the two boys sitting behind them – C. N. and Jacques. These boys had put at stake their entire holiday savings betting their respective results. Their silly arguments irritated Anne but neither her angry outbursts nor her friend’s pleading glances had any effect on the two boys.

Here, Anne records her observation that her class had quite a few dumb students and nearly a quarter of the class needed to be kept back. She also observes that teachers are “the most unpredictable creatures” so the results could not be guessed.

Anne was not worried about herself and her girlfriends. She was sure they would all make it to the next grade. Although she was a bit doubtful about Mathematics, they all waited patiently and tried to encourage and cheer up each other.

Anne was quite friendly with all her teachers except, the “old fogey” Mr Keesing, her Mathematics teacher, who always remained angry with her because of her talkative nature. He warned her constantly to give up this habit. When all his warnings failed, he punished her by assigning extra homework. Anne was asked to write an essay on “A Chatterbox”. She did not know what to write but noted down the topic and tucked it in her bag. After that she tried to remain quiet in the class.

In the evening, after finishing her routine home work, she thought about the topic ‘chatterbox’. She decided to write convincing arguments for being a ‘chatterbox’ in place of rambling and writing haphazardly. In her three page assignment, she wrote that talking is natural to all students. Talking becomes more compulsive for her as
her mother is a habitual talker and one cannot do much about inherited traits.

Mr. Keesing, her teacher, had a good laugh at her arguments and Anne resumed talking through the next lesson. The teacher then gave her another assignment as punishment – “An Incorrigible Chatterbox.” Anne handed over this assignment and things remained fine for the next two lessons. However, during the third lesson, Mr. Keesing lost patience and told her to write an essay titled, “Quack, Quack Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox.” This made everyone, including Anne, laugh. However, she felt that she had already written enough about the topic, so she must write something new. Sanne, one of her friends, who was good at writing poetry, offered to write the entire essay in verse. This overjoyed Anne because she wanted to play the joke on her teacher who was trying to make her write on a ridiculous topic. The poem turned out to be a beautiful one. It was about a mother duck and a father swan with “three baby ducklings” who quacked and quacked and quacked. This angered the father swan and he bit the ducklings to death. The joke obviously was on Mr. Keesing. He was amused to read the poem and took the joke sportingly. He read it to the entire class and several other classes, adding his own comments. From then on, Anne was never given assignment as punishment and was also allowed to talk in the class. Mr. Keesing too was a changed man and always cracked jokes.


The title of the extract is simple and clear. “From the Diary of Anne Frank” states that the excerpt is from the diary written by Anne Frank, a victim of holocaust. This extract gives an insight of the first hand experiences of a Jew during the Nazi rule. Although Anne’s real purpose behind writing her diary was that she wanted a true friend in whom she could confide, but today her diary has become an important historical record. This makes the title of the extract both informative and relevant.


The extract describes the honest expressions of a young teenager. She is a reserved person who reveals her inner self to her diary whom she treats as a true friend. In the process, she records the sweet relationship shared by teachers and students. The anxiety of students before results and the irritation caused to the teacher when the students talk too much are common situations in every part of the world. So, the theme of the extract moves between the plain thoughts of a young girl and her opinion about school life.


The extract gives the message that writing a diary helps one to be honest because a diary makes up for the absence of a sincere and dependable friend. It never betrays you and always keeps the secrets entrusted to it close to its heart. It has more tolerance and patience than people in general.

Another message given by the extract is that teachers should discipline their students but should also allow them to retain their individuality. They should keep a balance between awarding punishment and inspiring creativity.


Anne Frank has a knack of using uncommon expressions that amuse the reader a great deal. To cite a few examples, one finds the expression “the stiff-backed notebook grandly referred to as a diary” quite interesting. The use of the expression “plunge right in” too makes interesting reading. One can’t help laughing when she writes, “…. I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present ….”. The entire class “quaking in its boots” too is an enjoyable expression. The use of the word “dummies” for unintelligent students is also interesting. The statement regarding teachers being “the most unpredictable creatures on earth” is certainly very funny. The reader also feels like laughing at the use of the expression “old fogey” for the mathematics teacher.

One also comes across quite a few amusing situations in the extract that tickle the reader. The author feeling lonely amidst a host of people makes the reader smile at her frankness. The pitiable condition of the students awaiting the verdict of the unpredictable teachers also amuses the readers. In addition, the description of the class and the activities of the classmates are really enjoyable. The idea of giving additional homework as punishment for excessive talking in the class too is unique and amusing. The topics assigned as extra homework – “Chatterbox”, “An Incorrigible Chatterbox” and “Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox” – are innovative and funny. The description of Mr. Keesing, his unpredictable behaviour, and the way the author turns the tables on him creates plenty of humour.


Mr. Keesing

  • Mr. Keesing, the Mathematics teacher, is an interesting character and Anne Frank jokingly calls him an “old fogey”. Though he is basically good at heart, he is strict and wants to maintain proper discipline in the class. He does not allow Anne to talk excessively in the class. As a dedicated teacher, he remains firm in improving her behaviour because he wants his students to do well in life. When all his persuasions fail to change the girl, he thinks of a unique method to correct her. He assigns her additional homework and tells her to write an essay on the topic “A Chatterbox”. This shows that he is an ideal teacher who knows the skill of channelizing the energies of his students in a positive way. He continues to assign ‘additional homework’ on this topic till Anne comes up with a creative poem.
  • Mr. Keesing is a genuine and warm person, so he takes Anne’s jokes very sportingly. He laughs at the poem about the father swan biting his talkative ducklings to death and even reads it to other students. He admires Anne’s creative skill and allows her to talk in the class without holding any angst against her. His tough outward appearance has a tender heart inside. He is a teacher who always has the welfare of his students in his mind and loves them dearly.
  • In sum, he is a lovable character having some pardonable shortcomings.


  • Anne Frank was a Jewish girl, who spent many years living in fear of oppressive Germans and died at the tender age of about fifteen. A part of her life was spent in hiding and part in a concentration camp. She is “one of most renowned and discussed… Holocaust victims.”
  • Anne had a reserved nature and she did not confide easily in others. Even amid friends and family, she could not reveal her true self because of her reserved nature. This compelled her to seek companionship in her ‘Diary’ whom she treated like her very close friend and therefore gave her a name ‘Kitty’.
  • Anne was a creative person, so she did not record her experiences in a common manner. She invented her original style that had witty remarks, lively descriptions, and honest observations. She expressed everything in a straight forward manner without mincing words.
  • Anne had a loving nature. She admired her family and particularly missed her grandmother after the latter’s death. She was a great fan of her father and considered him to be the “most adorable” individual. She considered her family to be a very important part of her identity and gave a description about all the members before proceeding to write anything else in her diary.
  • Anne was only thirteen years old but was mature enough to assess correctly other people’s nature and behaviour. She rightly sums up that teachers are unpredictable by nature.
  • Anne’s subtle sense of humour is remarkable. She uses quite a few expressions that make her descriptions funny. The entire incident about Mr. Keesing, her mathematics teacher, displays her intelligent sense of humour. The diary entries of this young girl reveal that shehad a very balanced mind and could argue convincingly. Her argument that one couldn’t do much about one’s inherited traits is an example of her mature thoughts.
  • On the whole, Anne was an intelligent girl who could have become an interesting writer if the heartless Nazi rule hadn’t killed her.
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