“Coming of Age”

In life most people just cannot wait for the chance of becoming a “grown up”. Anticipating the chance to have more independence and the opportunity to do things that were perceived as being mature and cool. While growing up, the people suffer through a set of changes as they develop a sexually mature adult body. While these changes are primarily physical in nature, profound mental, emotional and social, changes also occur as youth adapt to their maturing bodies. A young Jewish girl who had to go into hiding during the Second World War to escape from the persecution of the Nazis suffered a lot.
Although rejected and isolated, she didn? t stop showing signs of coming of age as a normal girl such as having an imaginary friend, entering puberty and having sexual curiosity. First of all, Kitty, Anne? s diary, came to help to deal in the time of transition. Young children often have imaginary friends. Anne Frank, after she followed her family into hiding, never enjoyed this luxury. Her diary became Anne? s friend, her retreat from a microcosm imposed upon her and the seven other Jews imprisoned in the loft because of Hitler’s master plan of genocide against Jews and other groups.
Even before the Franks entered the loft, Anne had named her diary “Kitty. ”  (Shuman). Kitty helps Anne deal with the huge change and the reader sees it when she writes to her about the Annex. “I’ve probably bored you with my long description of our house, but I still think you should know where I’ve ended up” (Frank 25) and when how her world turned upside down because of the sudden change. “It seems like years since Sunday morning. So much has happened it’s as if the whole world had suddenly turned upside down. But as you can see, Kitty, I’m still alive” (Frank 19).

In these two quotes, Anne is telling Kitty that a lot have happened and she doesn’t feel comfortable being in hideout but at least she is still alive and has a friend who can tell everything. In writing to Kitty, Frank is trying to reach out to the normal world beyond her confined quarters. She misses school and her old friends. As the youngest in the secret annex, she is treated with condescension by the adults and sometimes scolded for her boisterousness. To overcome these feelings of isolation, she invents a friend in whom she can confide (Furst). I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone” (Frank 1). During her time in the annex Anne feels that despite having her parents, it’s better to tell everything to Kitty. ” Paper has more patience than people” (Frank 6). The Jewish girl feels that no one interested of what a thirteen year-old girl has to say and it’s better to write what she feels without fear of being judged and that was really hard for her because of being Jewish in times of the Holocaust. After Germany invaded Netherlands and the government began to persecute Jews.
Anne dropped her studies and lost contact with all her Jewish friends. During hideout, Kitty acted as Anne’s trusted confident when there was no one else to tell her secrets to. Kitty provided comfort in times of stress and companionship when she was lonely. “I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support” (Frank 1). Anne Frank was a popular girl in the school but she felt like she didn’t have a lots of friends and that’s one of the reasons why she had such a strong relationship with Kitty. The reader later learns that neither Mrs.
Frank nor Margot offered much to Anne in the way of emotional support and even though Anne’s father tried everything he could, he failed. “And yet for a long time I’ve felt extremely lonely, left out, neglected and misunderstood. Father did everything he could to curb my rebellious spirit, but it was no use… Why didn’t father support me in my struggle? Why did he fall short when he tried to offer me a helping hand? The answer is: he used the wrong methods. He always talked to me as if I were a child going through a difficult phase” (Frank 329).
Anne does realize that her father did try to help her but he failed; although Kitty didn’t. Kitty was always with her. ” So far you truly have been a great source of comfort to me, and so has Kitty, whom I now write to regularly. This way of keeping a diary is much nicer, and now I can hardly wait for those moments when I’m able to write in you. Oh, I’m so glad I brought you along! ” (Frank 1). Furthermore, during her concealment from the German soldiers, Anne started to show physical signs of growing up as her body started to change.
Anne Frank? s puberty began when she was 13 years old. Her breasts started to developed and because of the change, she had a terrible urge to feel her breast at night in bed. In addition, hair began to grow, and at the end Anne finally got her period. “I think that what’s happening to me is so wonderful, and I don’t just mean the changes taking place on the outside of my body, but also those on the inside. I never discuss myself or any of these things with others, which is why I have to talk about them to myself.
Whenever I have my period (and that’s only been three times), I have the feeling that in spite of all the pain, discomfort and mess, I’m carrying around a sweet secret” (Frank 160). At many points in her diary, the young girl expresses her desire to grow up so that her family take her seriously and she hopes to have her period thinking of it as physical sign of adulthood would make others respect her. When her period didn? t brought her family to respect her maturity, she continued to enjoy it as a “sweet secret”. At the time she made her first entries into her now-famous diary, she was pampered and immature (Shauman).
During Anne’s changes, the reader feels that she is no longer a naive kid because she leaves her normal childhood behind and becomes more mature and thoughtful due to the unusual circumstances of the Holocaust. “I was suffering then (and still do) from moods that kept my head under water (figuratively speaking) and allowed me to see things only from my own perspective, without calmly considering what the others- those whom I, with my mercurial temperament, had hurt or offended- had said, and then acting as they would have done” (Frank 157-158).
This quote shows that Anne began to grow up, reflecting more objectively on her own behaviour. Puberty is not only changes in the person body but it’s also a transition from childhood to adulthood. One cause of the sudden change in Anne was war. “The war is going to go on despite our quarrels and our longing for freedom and fresh air, so we should try to make the best to stay here. I’m preaching, but I also believe that if I live here much longer I’ll turn into dried-up old beanstalk. And all I really want is to be an honest-to-goodness teenager! ” (Frank 169). Anne believes that war has made her grow old too quickly.
She lost her chance to be a young person, enjoying life. As part of Anne’s development into a young adult, she started to develop an identity separated from her parents and a capacity of decision-making. She started to experience teenage rebellion mostly towards her mother. “Margot and Mother’s personalities are so alien to me. I understand my girlfriends better than my own mother. Isn’t that a shame? ” (Frank 42). This is one of the first times that Anne expresses a typical adolescent sentiment that she can relate to her friends better than to her own family.
Throughout the diary, Anne presents her mother in a negative and judgemental fashion. Anne sees her mother as an irritating figure of authority and she frequently wrote of her difficult relationship with her. One reason why Anne has problems with her mother is because Mrs. Frank sees Anne as a friend. ”I’ve suddenly realized what’s wrong with her. Mother has said that she sees us more as friends than as daughters. That’s all very nice, of course, except that a friend can’t take the place of a mother.
I need my mother to set a good example and be a person I can respect, but in most matters she’s an example of what not to do” (Frank 159). Anne tells Kitty that she needs a mother that possesses a great deal of tact, especially towards her adolescent children, and not one who pokes fun at her when she cries. Finally, as Anne continues to grow, she develops the sense of gender differences and also the curiosity of the body. During her hideout, Anne complains that it? s really easy to see exactly what a naked man looks like because of pictures, but it’s really hard to see a naked picture of a woman. Every time I see a female nude, such as the Venus in my history book, I go into ecstasy. Sometimes I find them so exquisite I have to struggle to hold back my tears. If I only had a girlfriend! ” (Frank 161). That? s probably one of the reasons that she touched herself when she was in the annex. The reader also finds out that, before going into hiding, Anne had a sexual curiosity about the human body. “Unconsciously, I had these feelings even before I came here. Once when I was spending the night at Jacque’s, I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body…
I asked wether, as a proof of our friendship, we could touch each other’s breasts. Jacque refused. I also had a terrible desire to kiss her, which I did” (Frank 161). Through her thoughts expressed to Kitty, the reader appreciates that Anne was growing up really fast. The young girl was in the stage of trying to find love and have a relationship. When Anne talks about her love life, things gets confusing because there were multiple Peters during Anne’s short life. When Anne was thirteen she already had boys on the brain and she had a lot of admirers. I have a throng of admirers who can’t keep their adoring eyes off me and who sometimes have to resort to using a broken pocket mirror to try and catch a glimpse of me in the classroom” (Frank 7). Anne does seem to be a male magnet and before going into the annex, she experienced a relationship with a sixteen-year-old guy named Peter Schiff; however their relationship soon ended because Anne was too young. After going into hiding, she met Peter Van Daan, a shy boy in the annex that Anne has no taste for at first. However later in the diary, Anne begins having dreams of Peter Schiff. I immediately remembered what I’d been dreaming about. I was sitting on a chair and across from me was Peter… Peter Schiff” (Frank 162). Those dreams that Anne had, mark what she thinks to be a significant change in herself. “I (there I go again! ) don’t know what’s happened, but since my dream I keep noticing how I’ve changed” (Frank 170). Those changes are a result of increased interest in romantic love and sex. It seems that Anne started to realize that she wanted love and companionship so desperately that she blinded herself to who Peter Van Daan really was. No, I think about Peter much more than I do Father. I know very well that he was my conquest, and not the other way round. I created an image of him in my mind, pictured him as a quiet, sweet, sensitive boy badly in need of friendship and love! I needed to pour out my heart to a living person. When I finally got him to be my friend, it automatically developed into an intimacy that, when I think about it now, seems outrageous. (Frank 330). The fourteen-years-old girl initiates a healthy curiosity about a natural part of growing up. “A very strange thing has happened to me.
Before I came here, whenever anyone at home or at school talked about sex, they were either secretive or disgusting. Any words having to do with sex were spoken in a low whisper. That struck me as odd, and I often wondered why people were so mysterious or obnoxious when they talked about this subject” (Frank 172). The young girl is in a mature stage where she really doesn’t see why people laugh or get mysterious about the subject and she really wants to know about sex. Before going into hiding, she tried to ask her friends about the subject. “I said as little as possible or asked my girlfriends for information” (Frank 172-173).
Also, Anne asked her parents, but they were not open about sex and sexuality and that’s why she decided to ask Peter about sex and later she talks to Margot in the bathroom. In the end, Anne Frank died in early March 1945, in a concentration camp. During hiding, Annelies Frank never could get use to the annex and she always felt lonely and misunderstood. Even though she had a horrific childhood, that didn’t stop the enthusiastic young girl to experience normal teenage phases such as having an imaginary companion, facing mental & physical changes, and possessing sexual curiosity.
Work Cited ? Frank, Annelies Marie. THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL ANNE FRANL. THE DEFINITIVE EDITION. United States of America: Penguin Books, 1995. 341. ? Shuman, R. Baird, . “The Diary of a Young Girl. ” Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, n. d. Web. 29 May 2012. ? Furst, Lilian R. “The Diary of a Young Girl. ” Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, n. d. Web. 30 May 2012. ? Shauman, R. Baird. “Anne Frank. ” Literary Reference Center. EBSCO, n. d. Web. 30 May 2012.

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