Anne Frank’s Optimism
Throughout Anne Frank’s two years of hiding, she never lost hope or her optimistic attitude. We can all learn from this amazing example of enduring to the end.
Before July 1942, Anne Frank was what every 13-year-old girl wanted to be. She went to school, had plenty of friends, and pleased everyone around her. She flirted with boys, talked back to her teachers, and did not let anything get in her way. When her Jewish family fled into hiding, however, her life would never be the same. As World War II progressed, people like Anne were not safe even in their own homes. Her family left everything they knew behind and moved into the third and fourth floors of an office building. With no outside contact besides help from some of the office building workers, the Franks’ start in the “Secret Annex” was not all that bad regardless. Anne even saw it as a new and exciting adventure.
As the war slowly progressed and conditions became worse, however, the morale in the Secret Annex started heading downhill. Bickering became a daily occurrence, hygiene conditions were less than adequate, and even finding enough food to feed eight people became a struggle. Anne changed more mentally and emotionally throughout those years than in any other way. As she puts it, “I’m blessed with many things: happiness, a cheerful disposition and strength. Everyday I feel myself maturing, I feel liberation drawing near, I feel the beauty of nature and the goodness of the people around me” (p. 282, The Diary of a Young Girl). From these words it’s easy to see her enduring optimistic outlook on this life-changing experience, despite the horrible circumstances and terrifying reality in which she lived.
As I read Anne Frank’s diary, I felt like I was changing in similar ways that she was. At the beginning of her story, I took the words she wrote and the way she felt for granted, as she took her new “adventure” for granted as well. As I read on, however, I was humbled by the terrible conditions and the fear that was placed before the Secret Annex, as was Anne. When the precious entries abruptly stopped, I was shocked, especially to read the words, “Anne’s Diary Ends Here” (p. 338, The Diary of a Young Girl). This plain sentence may not mean much to someone who has not read Anne’s diary, but to me it means more than words. To experience the feelings of an unparalleled heart on one page and then to have those emotions taken away on the next, I realized the cruel reality of life.
Anne’s words made me wonder how people can be so pessimistic when at the near end of her life, one girl can be so grateful and genuine. I learned that problems cannot always be solved, but anyone can choose the way they behave toward them and how they will emotionally endure. I will forever carry with me the important message Anne Frank unknowingly revealed to the world; reality can be cruel and unbearable, but it is the attitude that you choose to have that makes it unbearable.