Section Seven: February 13, 1944 through March 19, 1944
"Since Saturday a lot has changed for me," writes Anne, and what has changed, she notes, is Peter. He is looking at her in a new way, "to my great joy." This is a pleasant surprise as she had once believed Peter was in love with Margot. They begin to seek each other out and confide in each other. Peter tells her how he has difficulty expressing himself verbally and used to beat people up when he was angry, rather than arguing. Peter tells her that he will hide his Jewish ancestry when the war is over; his "tinge of honesty" disappoints Anne. She feels that he is insecure and needs affection.
Soon Anne is Anne finding excuses to go upstairs where the Van Daans stay, and crying when she does not get the opportunity to speak to him. She insists that she is not in love, but her mother has been looking at her "queerly" and warns that she must not bother Peter. Still, she goes to the attic where he works nearly every morning. She admits that "I really do hardly anything else but think of Peter," and makes lists of the things they have in common. For her, Peter Van Daan and Peter Wessel "have grown into one Peter, who is beloved and good."
There is another burglary, with complications this time. The intruder had a skeleton key or a duplicate and did not have to force his way inside. Plus, he was scared off when he heard Mr. Van Daan. This is unfortunate for the residents of the annex, because that person may report them. It would be especially unfortunate if the burglar is one of the warehouse workers.
Anne continues to get frustrated with the adults in the annex. She feels as though Peter is the one bright light in her life, and they spend a great deal of time together. She wonders what Peter feels about her and admits that her feelings are growing more serious. The others notice how much time the two of them are spending together, of course. Mrs. Van Daan teases Anne, asking if it's all right to trust the two of them alone together.
March 7 is an important diary entry. Anne summarizes her opinion about her development in the annex from the first days until the present. On the whole, she is quite pleased with herself. She feels as though she has managed to overcome many emotional diffculties to become the young woman she is. She also discusses her sister, Margot, in a new way. Instead of talking about what a good girl she is, she says that Margot lacks the "nonchalance" for deep discussions and takes things too seriously.
Life in the annex continues to be hard. The people who sold them illegal food coupons were caught, so there are no fats in the house and little food besides. The adults are on edge about food and politics. All of their protectors except Mr. Kraler are troubled by illness, and Mr. Kraler was "called up" to go digging. He is later exempted by the court. Still, Anne pines for Peter and wonders if her chatter bothers him. She notes that "the brightest spot of all" is that she can still write down her feelings. She is annoyed that the others in the annex still attempt to restrict her behavior and conduct-- "we are treated as children over outward things, and we are much older than most girls of our age inwardly." When Peter tells her that she is a great help to him, Anne is overcome with joy.
In this section of the diary, Anne gets to return, however briefly, to life before going into hiding. She does this via her relationship with Peter. Her love for Peter is innocent and touchingly naive, and it has echoes of her relationship with Harry at the beginning of the book. It is refreshing to experience this relationship with Anne. The reader is reminded that she is, after all, only a teenage girl, with a regular teenage girl's feelings about the opposite sex.
In many ways it appears the relationship is a relief to Anne, as well. She fully admits that she needs affection from a boy at this time of her life, and that is, in large part, why she chooses Peter. While Anne's overwhelming need may lead the reader to believe that she is not really in love with Peter at all, it proves that life in the annex is emotionally harsh and stifling for Anne. She develops feelings for Peter in part because it makes her days more exciting, and helps her forget the pressures of life on a day-to-day basis. This does not make her feelings less valid, it merely points out a major theme of the diary: Anne's loneliness and desperate search for someone in whom she may confide her feelings.
Still, things have changed since 1942, and Anne is very aware of this. On March 7, she summarizes how she has changed up to this point, in her own opinion. This is a crucial entry of the diary and should be read carefully. It shows that Anne is exceptionally self-aware. While things are not as neat as she writes them in her diary--she will grow up a great deal more, even in the next few months--this entry shows how Anne has become reflective and honest with herself since she went into hiding.
Another indication that things have changed since 1942 is Peter and Anne's discussion about being Jewish. This is one of the few entries in the book that discusses Jewish identity. Peter has obviously thought a great deal about what it means for him to be a Jew; he concludes that life would be easier without his Jewishness and plans to conceal his heritage after the war. Anne has obviously never given any thought to this. Although she is like Peter in that her Jewishness does not form a central part of her identity, she would not conceal her heritage. To do so would be dishonest, and she does not want to be dishonest. Anne's sentiment is interesting for a number of reasons. For one, it shows how strong her character is. But it also shows that she has not considered what her life would be without her Jewish heritage--in part because she does not fully understand just how serious it is for her to be Jewish in Europe at this time.
Section Eight: March 20, 1944 through April 25, 1944
Anne and Peter continue their close relationship; now Peter comes downstairs to visit Anne as well as she going upstairs to visit him. Anne worries that Margot may be jealous of her relationship with Peter. She and Margot exchange letters talking about their feelings. Margot isn't jealous of Anne's relationship with Peter, but she is jealous that Anne has someone to talk to and she does not. Peter invites Margot upstairs with Anne to join them in their discussions.
Outside, the war continues. A plane crash near their building surprises and frightens everyone. Burglaries and theft are commonplace throughout the city. To her own boredom, Anne includes one whole entry on the subject of politics and talks about the way they all sit around the radio for Sunday evening programming. She notes that "[p]olitics can't do much more harm to the parents!" But she notes with glee that things are going well on the Russian front.
Mrs. Frank forbids Anne to go upstairs so often, claiming that Mrs. Van Daan is jealous. Anne is annoyed and a serious critique of both the mothers follows. Then, on March 29, Anne writes that an exiled Dutch government minister has announced that after the war they ought to make a collection of diaries and letters. Anne is excited at the thought and believes that it would be interesting if she wrote a novel about the secret annex.
Food is short in the annex. They go through "food cycles" where they only eat one type of food--right now they are in the midst of a "bean cycle" and there are no vegetables available. Anne is in the midst of emotional turmoil and describes how she cried a great deal alone one night. She is also concerned about her future. She wants to be a writer and talks about some of the stories she has written. "I want to go on living even after my death!" she exclaims, and thanks God for giving her a literary gift. She also talks about her other hobbies, including history and mythology.
On April 11 another burglary occurs. The men go downstairs to investigate and scare the burglars away by shouting "Police!" but this only draws attention to them. A married couple shine a flashlight into the warehouse and the men run upstairs. For days they all huddle upstairs, waiting for the Gestapo to come and take them away. The adults contemplate destroying evidence such as the radio and Anne's diary. Anne responds with fury at the latter suggestion. She rages out at the situation she and her family have been placed in, demanding "Who has inflicted this upon us! Who has made us Jews different from other people!" Fortunately, Miep and her husband Henk come to visit them before the police come by in response to the burglary. Their kindness inspires Anne; she says that she wants to become a Dutch citizen after the war.
The burglary strains the atmosphere in the annex. The adults are upset. Peter forgets to unbolt the lock on the door to the warehouse, locking the workers out and almost getting them in a tremendous amount of trouble. But Anne is happy because she finally gets a kiss from Peter. Although she knows her family would not approve, she feels that she is mature for her age and can handle his affections. There is more trouble with the warehouse workers downstairs and Dussel refuses to speak to the Van Daans.
The burglary provokes Anne into deep soul-searching. Once again, she confronts the cruelty of the world and the unfairness of prejudice. She does not come up with any answers, but her anger and fear are cathartic. She realizes a number of things about the situation she is in and about what she wants for herself because of it. Her decision to become a Dutch citizen after the war is one of those things. Once again, she acknowledges the hard work and compassion of their Dutch helpers. Her passionate and prophetic treatise on writing is also touching. It was Anne's declaration that she wished to live after her death, as well as her belief that her diary might be interesting to others, that convinced her father to show the diary in this way.
The belief that they are at their last hour draws the annex together, even though the strain afterwards pushes them apart again. Dussel's childish fight with the Van Daans and Anne's continued joy over Peter prove that no one in the annex believes that they do not really feel the threat of death. This is sad, because the threats are coming closer together now and more mistakes are being made (like Peter's). All the same, it shows how the annex residents overcome their fears by concentrating on what is closest to them, and how life continues to be a day-to-day process.
Anne's comments on the war and politics also show how she is being more drawn into the adult world. She claims to detest politics, but faithfully records new war developments in her diary. She begins to understand that what goes on outside has a direct impact on her life. She also contemplates how being Jewish makes a person so different--an important step in her identity formation.