Becoming Women in Strenuous Circumstances and Using Writing as a Form of Comfort

What s a girl? A human creature? A daughter? A friend? A girl is everything. She is sensitive and assertive, she is beautiful and unique and although she is all of these wonderful qualities; in the time of World War II and the holocaust women no matter if they were German or Jewish or any other nationalities were cast into their classical gender role responsibilities. This is the case for Anne in “The Diary of A Young Girl” by Anne Frank, and Liesel in “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. They had to mature into a woman in very unusual circumstances and used writing as a form of comfort.

Becoming a woman happens in every girl’s life through puberty, but for Anne and Liesel it happens in very unusual circumstances. Anne is a thirteen year old girl when she first goes into hiding in the annex; which is a secret living space, as she is Jewish in World War II. She turns fifteen just before the family is arrested. So her diary is a first hand experience on her challenges of puberty under these unusual circumstances, and the issues she struggles with which are universal for all girls going through puberty. Like any normal young girl growing up she talks about her sexuality. Only in Anne’s case, she does not have any close friends to share these experiences or feelings with as she is in hiding. So she writes in her diary about what she is learning about herself. As she grows up and starts to compare herself to her mother and to other women such as her sister, this becomes obvious when she falls for the boy named peter in the secret annex and says

“I know I’m starting at a very young age. Not even fifteen and already so independent- that’s a little hard for other people to understand. I’m pretty sure Margot would never kiss a boy unless...

... middle of paper ... and books all of these experiences are true. Even though Anne is a young Jewish girl and Liesel is a young German girl in World War II they have the same basic experiences like growing up into a women or the feeling of loneliness in their adolescence. The comparison of these two characters shows that no matter where a young girl is in the world or what they are affiliated with they all go through the same gender problems.

Works Cited

Frank, Otto and Pressler, Marjam, Eds. The Definitive Edition: The Diary of a Young girl. New York: The Anchor Rose, 1995, Print.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Book Thief.” SparkNotes LLC. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Diary of a Young Girl.” SparkNotes LLC. 2003. Web. 9 Apr. 2014.

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. United States: Random House, 2005. Print.

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