English Language & Literature
Chapter 4 – From the Diary of Anne Frank
Do you keep a diary? Given below under ‘A’ are some terms we use to describe a written record of personal experience. Can you match them with their descriptions under ‘B’? (You may look up the terms in a dictionary if you wish.)
|(i) Journal||– A book with a separate space or page for each day, in which you write down your thoughts and feelings or what has happened on that day|
|(ii) Diary||– A full record of a journey, a period of time, or an event, written every day|
|(iii) Log||– A record of a person’s own life and experiences (usually, a famous person)|
|(iv) Memoir(s)||– A written record of events with times and dates, usually official|
|(i) Journal||– A full record of a journey, a period of time, or an event, written every day|
|(ii) Diary||– A book with a separate space or page for each day, in which you write down your thoughts and feelings or what has happened on that day|
|(iii) Log||– A written record of events with times and dates, usually official|
|(iv) Memoir(s)||– A record of a person’s own life and experiences (usually, a famous person)|
Here are some entries from personal records. Use the definitions above to decide which of the entries might be from a diary, a journal, a log or a memoir.
(i) I woke up very late today and promptly got a scolding from Mum! I can’t help it — how can I miss the FIFA World Cup matches?
(iii) The ride to Ooty was uneventful. We rested for a while every 50 km or so, and used the time to capture the magnificent landscape with my HandyCam. From Ooty we went on to Bangalore.
What a contrast! The noise and pollution of this once-beautiful city really broke my heart.
(iv) This is how Raj Kapoor found me — all wet and ragged outside R.K.Studios. He was then looking for just someone like this for a small role in Mera Naam Joker, and he cast me on the spot. The rest, as they say, is history!
Oral Comprehension Check
What makes writing in a diary a strange experience for Anne Frank?
Writing in a diary was a strange experience for Anne Frank because she had never written anything before in a diary as she had received it as a gift on her thirteenth birthday. She considered the diary to be her best friend where she could write all her thoughts and feelings. However, she also felt that no one would be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl, hence she could write freely in the diary to get all the worries off her chest.
Why does Anne want to keep a diary?
Anne used to always feel lonely and upset as she had no friends. She wanted to get all the burden and worries off her chest, hence she decided to keep a diary in which she could confide her secrets and treat it as a true friend.
Why did Anne think she could confide more in her diary than in people?
Anne had a strong feeling that paper had more patience than people to listen to her mental state. It was easier for her to pen down all her thoughts and wishes that she had in her mind in a diary. Hence, to confide her secrets, she felt her personal diary was the best companion and it was also not meant for anyone else to read.
Oral Comprehension Check
Why does Anne provide a brief sketch of her life?
Anne provided a brief sketch of her life because she wanted to describe her family, school and herself. By reading her diary, it could help the reader to develop some sort of connection with her and all the activities that were happening around her at that time.
What tells you that Anne loved her grandmother?
Anne lived at Aachen with her grandmother while her parents settled down in Holland. She was extremely close to her grandmother and wrote about her in her diary. However, when her grandmother died in January 1942, she said, “No one knows how often I think of her and still love her”. She wanted to convey through this message how dearly she loved her grandmother. On her thirteenth birthday, she lit up one candle along with the rest to express her love and gratitude for her beloved grandmother.
Oral Comprehension Check
Why was Mr. Keesing annoyed with Anne? What did he ask her to do?
Mr Keesing was annoyed with Anne because she was a very talkative girl. He often punished her by assigning her extra homework to write essays on topics that were related to her nature in order to keep her silent.
How did Anne justify her being a chatterbox in her essay?
Anne justified her being a chatterbox in her essay by clearly pointing out that she had inherited it from her mother who was also as talkative as her or even more. She also stated that nobody could do anything about such inherited traits.
Do you think Mr Keesing was a strict teacher?
No, Mr Keesing was not a rigidly strict teacher but he expected his class to maintain silence and discipline while he was imparting his lecture to the class. As a matter of fact, a teacher always thinks about the welfare of his students. Any teacher would be annoyed if the children keep on talking during the class. Mr Keesing was annoyed with Anne because she was very talkative. So to punish her, he would give her to do extra homework and often told her to write essays on her talkative nature. Besides, it should be noted that had he been strict, then he would not have laughed at Anne’s funny arguments.
What made Mr Keesing allow Anne to talk in class?
Anne’s last essay entitled — ‘Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterbox’.” in the form of a poem showed Mr Keesing the lighter side of Anne. He was impressed with the way she presented her arguments in a rhythmic manner. It helped in bridging the gap between Mr Keesing and Anne and thereafter she was never assigned extra homework by him.
Thinking about the Text
Was Anne right when she said that the world would not be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old girl?
It is a human tendency that kids are often not considered seriously by elders. Being a thirteen-year-old girl, Anne thought that most people don’t want to give importance to a child’s perspective towards the world because they think children are too immature to talk about worldly matters. However, Anne Frank’s diary was popular among the masses and was translated in different languages and she became one of the most renowned and discussed of the Holocaust victims.
There are some examples of diary or journal entries in the ‘Before You Read’ section. Compare these with what Anne writes in her diary. What language was the diary originally written in? In what way is Anne’s diary different?
Anne’s diary was originally written in Dutch. It was different from other entries in several aspects and from most of the examples given before the text. She had named her diary as ‘Kitty’. She wrote in an informal tone which exuded the carefree nature of a teenager. She confided her feelings and secrets on it as she considered her diary to be her best friend. She wrote a lot of personal events and memories in her diary, which made it different from other diaries.
Why does Anne need to give a brief sketch about her family? Does she treat ‘Kitty’ as an insider or an outsider?
Anne gave a brief introduction of her family in the ‘diary’ because she felt that it was hard to make others realise that a teenager like her could write about loneliness and all the events happenings around her in a mature manner. She talked about her adorable father, compassionate mother, beloved grandmother and loving elder sister in her diary ‘Kitty’.
Kitty was gifted to her by her parents on her thirteenth birthday and she considered it as her best friend and treated it as an insider as she could confide all her feelings and emotions by writing on it.
How does Anne feel about her father, her grandmother, Mrs Kuperus and Mr Keesing? What do these tell you about her?
Anne had fond of memories of her adorable father, her grandmother, Mrs Kuperus and Mr Keesing, her Maths teacher who had left indelible and lasting impressions on her mind and had a major impact in her life. The way she wrote about all of them in her diary revealed that Anne was very attached to each of these people and was quite good at understanding people. She had developed an everlasting bond and a wonderful interpersonal relation with each of them.
What does Anne write in her first essay?
Mr Keesing had asked Anne to write an essay on the topic ‘A Chatterbox’ as a punishment for her talkative nature. In the essay, she wrote about the effects of being talkative and also argued that she had inherited it from her mother who was also very talkative. She justified this by saying that nobody could do anything about inherited traits. It was therefore, difficult to give up a habit so easily and it also formed a part of a student’s trait. Reading this, Mr Keesing also had a hearty laugh at the argument given by Anne.
Anne says teachers are most unpredictable. Is Mr Keesing unpredictable? How?
Anne cited the perfect example of Mr Keesing as an unpredictable teacher because she felt that Mr Keesing was indifferent towards her behaviour who always rebuked her for her talkative nature. Although initially he punished her by assigning extra homework, after reading her essays he enjoyed a good laugh and thereafter never gave her such punishment and allowed Anne to talk in the class.
What do these statements tell you about Anne Frank as a person?
(i) We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem. Maybe it’s my fault that we don’t confide in each other.
(ii) I don’t want to jot down the facts in this diary the way most people would, but I want the diary to be my friend.
(iii) Margot went to Holland in December, and I followed in February, when I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present for Margot.
(iv) If you ask me, there are so many dummies that about a quarter of the class should be kept back, but teachers are the most unpredictable creatures on earth.
This line implies that Anne thought that a quarter of the class are dumbheads and she was intelligent enough to make it to the next class. She called the teachers as the most unpredictable creatures on earth because it was quite uncertain who will fail or pass and make it to the next grade.
(v) Anyone could ramble on and leave big spaces between the words, but the trick was to come up with convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking.
This statement implies that Anne was talking about writing. She was given extra homework to write essays by Mr Keesing as a punishment for her talkative nature. Although that was extra work for her, but she wanted to do it in full vigour. She did not want to leave big spaces between the words to make the essay look voluminous. She wanted to write convincing arguments to prove the essence of talking. That way her approach to writing was different from others.
Thinking about Language
I. Look at the following words.
These words are compound words. They are made up of two or more words.
Compound words can be:
- nouns: headmistress, homework, notebook, outbursts
- adjectives: long-awaited, stiff-backed
- verbs: sleep-walk, baby-sit
Match the compound words under ‘A’ with their meanings under ‘B’. Use each in a sentence.
|1. Heartbreaking||– obeying and respecting the law|
|2. Homesick||– think about pleasant things, forgetting about the present|
|3. Blockhead||– something produced by a person, machine or organisation|
|4. Law-abiding||– producing great sadness|
|5. Overdo||– an occasion when vehicles/machines stop working|
|6. Daydream||– an informal word which means a very stupid person|
|7. Breakdown||– missing home and family very much|
|8. Output||– do something to an excessive degree|
|1. Heartbreaking||– producing great sadness|
|2. Homesick||– missing home and family very much|
|3. Blockhead||– an informal word which means a very stupid person|
|4. Law-abiding||– obeying and respecting the law|
|5. Overdo||– do something to an excessive degree|
|6. Daydream||– think about pleasant things, forgetting about the present|
|7. Breakdown||– an occasion when vehicles/machines stop working|
|8. Output||– something produced by a person, machine or organisation|
II. Phrasal Verbs
A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb. Its meaning is often different from the meanings of its parts. Compare the meanings of the verbs get on and run away in (a) and (b) below. You can easily guess their meanings in (a) but in (b) they have special meanings.
(a) • She got on at Agra when the bus stopped for breakfast.
• Dev Anand ran away from home when he was a teenager.
(b) • She’s eager to get on in life. (succeed)
• The visitors ran away with the match. (won easily)
Some phrasal verbs have three parts: a verb followed by an adverb and a preposition.
(c) Our car ran out of petrol just outside the city limits.
(d) The government wants to reach out to the people with this new campaign.
1. The text you’ve just read has a number of phrasal verbs commonly used in English. Look up the following in a dictionary for their meanings (under the entry for the italicised word).
(i) plunge (right) in
(ii) kept back
(iii) ramble on
(iv) get along with
2. Now find the sentences in the lesson that have the phrasal verbs given below. Match them with their meanings. (You have already found out the meanings of some of them.) Are their meanings the same as that of their parts? (Note that two parts of a phrasal verb may occur separated in the text.)
|(i) plunge in||– speak or write without focus|
|(ii) kept back||– stay indoors|
|(iii) move up||– make (them) remain quiet|
|(iv) ramble on||– have a good relationship with|
|(v) get along with||– give an assignment (homework) to a person in authority (the teacher)|
|(vi) calm down||– compensate|
|(vii) stay in||– go straight to the topic|
|(viii) make up for||– go to the next grade|
|(ix) hand in||– not promoted|
|(i) plunge in||– go straight to the topic|
|(ii) kept back||– not promoted|
|(iii) move up||– go to the next grade|
|(iv) ramble on||– speak or write without focus|
|(v) get along with||– have a good relationship with|
|(vi) calm down||– make (them) remain quiet|
|(vii) stay in||– stay indoors|
|(viii) make up for||– compensate|
|(ix) hand in||– give an assignment (homework) to a person in authority (the teacher)|
plunge in: “Since no one would understand a word of my stories to Kitty if I were to plunge right in, I’d better provide a brief sketch of my life, much as I dislike doing so.”
kept back: “The reason, of course, is the forthcoming meeting in which the teachers decide who’ll move up to the next form and who’ll be kept back.”
move up: “The reason, of course, is the forthcoming meeting in which the teachers decide who’ll move up to the next form and who’ll be kept back.”
ramble on: “Anyone could ramble on and leave big spaces between the words, but the trick was to come up with convincing arguments to prove the necessity of talking.
get along with: “I get along pretty well with all my teachers.”
calm down: “Even G.’s pleading glances and my angry outbursts can’t calm them down.”
stay in: “I thought of this saying on one of those days when I was feeling a little depressed and was sitting at home with my chin in my hands, bored and listless, wondering whether to stay in or go out.”
make up for: “This birthday celebration in 1942 was intended to make up for the other, and Grandma’s candle was lit along with the rest.”
hand in: “I handed it in, and Mr. Keesing had nothing to complain about for two whole lessons.”
Idioms are groups of words with a fixed order, and a particular meaning, different from the meanings of each of their words put together. (Phrasal verbs can also be idioms; they are said to be ‘idiomatic’ when their meaning is unpredictable.) For example, do you know what it means to ‘meet one’s match’ in English? It means to meet someone who is as good as oneself, or even better, in some skill or quality. Do you know what it means to ‘let the cat out of the bag’? Can you guess?
Question.1. Here are a few sentences from the text which have idiomatic expressions. Can you say what each means? (You might want to consult a dictionary first.)
(i) Our entire class is quaking in its boots. __________________
(iv) Mr Keesing was trying to play a joke on me with this ridiculous subject, but I’d make sure the joke was on him. _____________________
Here are a few more idiomatic expressions that occur in the text.
Try to use them in sentences of your own.
(i) caught my eye
IV. Do you know how to use a dictionary to find out the meanings of idiomatic expressions?
Take, for example, the expression caught my eye in the story.
Where — under which word — would you look for it in the dictionary?
Look for it under the first word. But if the first word is a ‘grammatical’ word like a, the, for, etc., then take the next word. That is, look for the first ‘meaningful’ word in the expression. In our example, it is the word caught.
But you won’t find caught in the dictionary, because it is the past tense of catch. You’ll find caught listed under catch. So you must look under catch for the expression caught my eye. Which other expressions with catch are listed in your dictionary?
Note that a dictionary entry usually first gives the meanings of the word itself, and then gives a list of idiomatic expressions using that word. For example, study this partial entry for the noun ‘eye’ from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2005.
- Part of Body 1 [C] either of the two organs on the face that you see with: The suspect has dark hair and green eyes.
- Ability to See 3 [sing.] the ability to see: A surgeon needs a good eye and a steady hand.
- Way of Seeing 4 [C, usually sing.] a particular way of seeing sth: He looked at the design with the eye of an engineer.
- Of Needle 5 [C] the hole in the end of a needle that you put the thread through.
IDM be all eyes to be watching sb/sth carefully and with a lot of interest before/in front of sb’s (very) eyes in sb’s presence; in front of sb: He had seen his life’s work destroyed before his very eyes. Be up to your eyes in sth to have a lot of sth to deal with: We’re up to our eyes in work.
You have read the expression ‘not to lose heart’ in this text. Now find out the meanings of the following expressions using the word ‘heart’. Use each of them in a sentence of your own.
Question.1. break somebody’s heart
V. Contracted Forms
When we speak, we use ‘contracted forms’ or short forms such as these:
can’t (for can not or cannot) I’d (for I would or I had) she’s (for she is)
Notice that contracted forms are also written with an apostrophe to show a shortening of the spelling of not, would, or is as in the above example.
Writing a diary is like speaking to oneself. Plays (and often, novels) also have speech in written form. So we usually come across contracted forms in diaries, plays and novels.
1. Make a list of the contracted forms in the text. Rewrite them as full forms of two words.
I’ve = I have
2. We have seen that some contracted forms can stand for two different full forms:
I’d = I had or I would
Find in the text the contracted forms that stand for two different full forms, and say what these are.
(i) I’ve – I have
(ii) Can’t – Cannot
(iii) I’m – I am
(iv) Won’t – Would not
(v) Don’t – Do not
(vi) Doesn’t – Does not
(vii) Didn’t – Did not
(viii) Who’ll – Who will
(ix) You’re – You are
(x) There’s – There is
(xi) I’d – I would
(xii) We’ll – We will
(xiii) He’d – He had
(xiv) That’s – That is
(xv) Who’s – Who is
(xvi) Haven’t – Have not
(xvii) It’s – It is
(xviii) Wouldn’t – Would not
Here is an extract adapted from a one-act play. In this extract, angry neighbours who think Joe the Inventor’s new spinning machine will make them lose their jobs come to destroy Joe’s model of the machine.
You’ve just seen how contracted forms can make a written text sound like actual speech. Try to make this extract sound more like a real conversation by changing some of the verbs back into contracted forms. Then speak out the lines.
[The door is flung open, and several men tramp in. They carry sticks, and one of them, HOB, has a hammer.]
MOB : Now where is your husband, mistress?
MARY : In his bed. He is sick, and weary. You would not harm him!
HOB : We are going to smash his evil work to pieces. Where is the machine?
SECOND MAN : On the table yonder.
HOB : Then here is the end of it!
[HOB smashes the model. MARY screams.]
HOB : And now for your husband!
MARY : Neighbours, he is a sick man and almost a cripple. You would not hurt him!
HOB : He is planning to take away our daily bread… We will show him what we think of him and his ways!
MARY : You have broken his machine… You have done enough…
Now you know what a diary is and how to keep one. Can you keep a diary for a week recording the events that occur? You may share your diary with your class, if you wish to. Use the following hints to write your diary.
- Though your diary is very private, write as if you are writing for someone else.
- Present your thoughts in a convincing manner.
- Use words that convey your feelings, and words that ‘paint pictures’ for the reader. Be brief.
‘Diary language’ has some typical features such as subjectless sentences (Got up late in the morning), sentence fragments without subjects or verbs (…too bad, boring, not good), contracted forms (they’re, I’ve, can’t, didn’t, etc.), and everyday expressions which people use in speech. Remember not to use such language in more formal kinds of writing.
Your teacher will read out an extract from The Diary of Samuel Pepys (given on the next page) about the great fire of London. As you listen complete this summary of the happenings.
This entry in the diary has been made on ___________ by ____________. The person who told Pepys about the fire was called ___________. She called at ____________in the morning. Pepys went back to sleep because ____________. Pepys rose again at ____________ in the morning. By then about _________________ houses had been burned down. The fire had spread to __________ by London Bridge. Pepys then walked to the __________ along with Sir J. Robinson’s ______________.
This entry in the diary has been made on 2nd September, 1666 by Samuel Pepys. The person who told Pepys about the fire was called Jane. She called at three in the morning. Pepys went back to sleep because he thought it was far enough. Pepys rose again at seven in the morning. By then about 300 houses had been burned down. The fire had spread to Fish Street by London Bridge. Pepys then walked to the Tower along with Sir J. Robinson’s little son.