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SUMMARY WITH NOTES
PART IV : WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 1943 - THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 1944
In these entries, Anne gives more information about the daily routines, including mealtime and bedtime; she even tells about a trivial episode involving peeling potatoes. In addition, she criticizes most of the members of the group, especially their eating habits and their ways of talking. Then feeling bad about her critical nature, she also resolves to try harder to avoid quarrels and arguments with the others in the annex, especially her mother and sister.
The entry dated September 10 is filled with good news, for Italy has surrendered unconditionally. At first everyone in the annex, including Anne, is cheerful and hopeful; then when no changes are seen in Holland, things become more gloomy than ever for these Jews in hiding. It is like they sense some unexplained bad omen. Matters are made worse when Koophuis and Miep, their Dutch protectors, grow ill and cannot attend to the needs of the Jews as they normally do. Anne is so upset that she begins to take sedatives to calm her nerves. She writes that the day after taking a pill, she feels more miserable than ever. She states, "A good hearty laugh would help more than ten Valerian pills, but we've almost forgotten how to laugh."
With tension rising in the annex, fighting increases. Another terrible quarrel occurs between Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan, which upsets Anne tremendously. On September 29, she writes, "What kind of explosion is hanging over us now? If only I wasn't mixed up so much with all these rows! If I could get away!" She, however, cannot escape and must begin to endure the arguments that now flare between Mr. Van Daan and Dussel. Besides crying herself to sleep, Anne begins to have nightmares. Mr. Frank, sensing that Anne and the other children are restless and anxious, institutes another study program for them. Anne, hoping to ignore the arguments, buries herself in her books.
By October 29, Anne has become a ball of nerves. With flagging spirits she wonders if there will ever be an end to the war. She writes, "I wander from one room to another, downstairs and up again, feeling like a songbird whose wings have been clipped and who is hurling himself in utter darkness against the bars of his cage. In the entry dated November 11, Anne seems to be calmer once again. She writes, "Ode to my Fountain Pen in Memoriam," a poem about losing her pen to the fire and missing it terribly. Her peacefulness, however, does not last. She tells about Elli, a good friend to all the ladies, not being able to visit in the annex, for she has been exposed to diphtheria and does not want to risk giving it to any of the Jews in hiding. The nightmares also return. On November 27, she writes about one of them. "I saw her (her friend, Lies) in front of me, clothed in rags, her face thin and worn. Her eyes were very big and she looked so sadly and reproachfully at me that I could read in her eyes: 'Oh, Anne, why have you deserted me! Help, Oh, help me, rescue me from this hell!'" Anne prays for the safety of her girlfriend.
As St. Nicholas' Day approaches for the second time, the group in the annex makes plans and preparations, but it is difficult to muster any real excitement. Circumstances have turned from bad to worse with "resources becoming meager and thinner, and their spirit dying a slow death which only hope keeps pushing off." Anne then falls ill with the flu, and Dussel has to nurse her back to health. Since she is well before the holidays, she decides to make fondants for Elli and Miep. She has been saving sugar from her porridge for several months in order to have an adequate amount to make these treats. It is amazing that Anne can remain so generous and thoughtful when she has so little. It is also good for her to feel that "we haven't had such peace in the home for a least half a year."
Although Anne seldom complains in the diary, she does express her longing to again see sunny days outside and to return to a normal life. She writes, "I am simply a young girl badly in need of some rollicking fun." The Chanukah and Saint Nicholas celebration do, however, give her some bit of diversion. For the most part, however, she is filled with a sense of fear and loneliness. As she thinks about her deceased grandmother, she writes, "A person can be lonely even if he is loved by many people." Although the words refer to her granny, they also clearly describe Anne herself. Questions about her friend, Lies, also haunt her. She wonders, "Is she still alive? What is she doing? Oh, God, protect her and bring her back to us." (Amazingly, Lies does survive the war, unlike Anne.)
The entry on January 2, 1944, is different from all the others. It seems that Anne has reread the pages of her diary and has realized how much anger and hatred are hidden within its pages, especially against her mother. She tells "Kitty" that she feels ashamed for her past bitterness and promises that she is trying harder with her mother. "It's true that she doesn't understand me, but I don't understand her either. She did love me very much and she was tender, but as she landed in so many unpleasant situations through me, and was nervous and irritable because of worries and difficulties, it is certainly understandable that she snapped at me. . . .The period when I caused Mummy to shed tears is over. I have grown wise." Anne is obviously becoming a more mature young lady.
Anne is also finding new outlets for her emotions. She explains in an entry dated January 6, 1944, that she has decided to become friends with Peter Van Daan. Taking the bull by the horns, she goes up to his room to talk to him. Although she has a friendly conversation with him, she writes, "Don't think I'm in love with Peter - not a bit of it!" She does, however, to have a general interests in boys.