Section Five: June 15, 1943 through December 6, 1943
One of their Dutch helpers, Mr. Vossen, was supposed to have an ulcer operation, but the doctors realized that he had cancer and was too far gone for them to help. This is sad news for everyone in the annex, they will be losing a good helper and friend. Anne is trying to be "helpful, friendly, and good" to everyone in the annex. She has stopped studying shorthand and worries about her near-sightedness. She and Margot do office work for Elli, one of their helpers. Anne politely asks Mr. Dussel if she can use the table in their bedroom to study two afternoons a week. Dussel refuses, claiming that his work is more important than Anne's. Seething, Anne asks her father for advice, and after he intervenes, Dussel gives in.
There is a real burglary on July 16--the thieves take cash and sugar ration coupons. The bombing continues--Anne says that "whole streets lie in ruins." Meanwhile the bombing and destruction continues, setting everyone's nerves on edge. While all of this is going on, Anne describes what everyone's first wish will be once they get out of hiding. Then, she decides to tell her diary about an average day in hiding. Over a period of days she breaks down the daily routine of the annex residents: bedtime, breakfast, lunch, evening recreation, potato peeling, etc. She details everyone's actions with humor, making sure to skewer the residents she does not particularly like.
Outside, the political news is good. Italy's Fascist party is banned, signaling internal discord. The country surrenders to the Allied Powers on September 8. While this is good for the long term of the war, life in Holland is still strict: Dussel endangers their lives by asking Miep to bring him a book that was banned by the Germans, and Mr. Koophius has to go to the hospital for an abdominal operation and long recovery.
Interpersonal relations are not going well in the annex: Anne is taking Valerian pills for depression, the Van Daans have run out of money, and their few protectors who are not ill are overstressed. The adults quarrel incessantly, while Anne tries to shake herself out of her depression. She has no appetite and wanders the annex aimlessly, "feeling like a songbird whose wings have been clipped and who is hurling himself...against the bars of his cage." Mr. Frank tries to give the girls new things to do: he orders Latin lessons for Margot and tries to get a children's Bible for Anne so she can learn something of the New Testament.
Anne notes that her diary entries are written in a variety of different moods; she feels dependent on the atmosphere. Right now, she admits that she is "going through a spell of being depressed" and berates herself as being "a coward." But her fears continue, she writes that the annex is "a little piece of blue heaven, surrounded by heavy black rain clouds...gather[ing] more closely about us." A cheerful spot comes in the form of an entry that she writes as an ode to her fountain pen, a prized possession of hers which was accidentally melted in the stove. But then she has a bad dream about her childhood friend, Lies. She imagines her "clothed in rags," and begging Anne to help her. Anne mourns that she cannot, and feels guilty for all of her blessings while others are suffering.
Dussel is acting "very put out." He does not even thank the Franks or the Van Daans on the one-year anniversary of his arrival in the annex. Meanwhile, Elli cannot come to help them for six weeks because of a diptheria outbreak in her home. St. Nicholas Day is certain to be less plentiful than last year--but Anne, determined to make something festive out of the occasion, begins composing poems for each person with the help of her father. They gather everyone's shoes and put them in a large basket, then cover it with paper as a surprise. When everyone is shocked at the size of the package, Anne reads a funny poem about how times are hard but that festive "spirit" remains.
Emotionally, this is the low point for Anne during her time in the annex. She suffers from depression and is forced, by virture of her circumstances, to conceal what is going on within her from the others around her. Otto Frank once said that when Anne was alive, he had no idea who the Anne of this diary was, and that it proved that "children are strangers to their parents." Anne continues to keep up her reputation as a light-hearted chatterbox among the residents of the annex, and she does her best to make life livable for the people around her. Her hard work for the St. Nicholas holiday is a good example. Internally, however, she is tormented by fear and frustration.
Overall, life inside and out of the annex is also hard. Note that Anne's descriptions often talk about how their food supply is either small or rotten. By the third year of the war, everyone in the fighting countries was experiencing shortages and hardships of all kinds. Hitler's "guns, not butter" campaign ensured that food and other necessities were difficult to get. And as the fighting raged, people came to realize that many of their sons--already gone for a long time--would not return. In such circumstances, internal chaos can threaten the stability of countries at war. That was one big reason why Italy surrendered. In Holland, the strikes that Anne mentions are a sure sign that morale was low among the Dutch.
In this section of her diary, Anne's writing goes beyond expressions of the mundane and the everyday to try and express some of what is going on in her mind and her soul. She experiments with metaphors and rhetorical language, particularly relating to nature. Her description of herself as a bird beating against a cage is a classic metaphor among marginalized women. (Maya Angelou used the same metaphor throughout her memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.) She also describes the annex as a small piece of "blue heaven" surrounded by rain clouds. This description has resonances with the Old Testament (Moses parting the Red Sea to rescue the Israelites). But it also expresses Anne's desire for the natural world, which she has not been able to see or enjoy for over a year.
Section Six: December 22, 1943 through February 13, 1944
Anne gets the flu. She tries all sorts of cures and is embarrassed when Dussel lies on her "naked chest" and listens to her heart. The household receives nice Christmas presents from their protectors, but Anne feels jealous of them because they can go outside and still enjoy many things she cannot. She feels "a great longing to have lots of fun myself for once." Morale, she adds, is "rotten" as the war is at a standstill. Anne also contemplates her father and "the love of his youth." She adds, in a restrained way, that she understands him better now than she used to and admires his patience and his good qualities. She is also shocked at the number of times she has spoken badly of her mother in her diary. She "soothes her conscience" by thinking that the words are on paper rather than in her mother's memory.
Anne becomes "very unhappy" when she thinks of her Granny (her mother's mother) and her friend Lies. She contemplates Granny's kindess and courage in the face of suffering, and she wonders if Lies is still alive. She notes that her belief in God is not strong enough.
While she feels that she has a better understanding of her mother, Anne notes that there are many changes going on within herself. Her body is changing--she now gets her period and feels "ecstasies" at the sight of a female nude. She confesses that she once felt a "strong desire" to kiss a female friend and wondered about the mysteries of her friend's body. She longs for a girl friend, but there is no one, and wants so badly to confide in someone that she tries to talk to Peter. She dreams of Peter Wessel, imagining his cheek against hers, and notes that she has very vivid dreams. When she prays, she says, she prays for all "Jews and those in need."
Anne explains her longing for Peter Wessel by telling her diary the history of "myself and all my boy friends." She had childhood crushes, she explains, but none of them were serious until she fell in love with Peter Wessel, an older boy. She calls him her "helper" in the annex when she is going through tough times and thinks of him often. It helps her look more lightly on the adults' quarrels, which continue with regularity.
One day, Peter shows Anne the cat, Boche. He shows Anne the "male organs" so nonchalantly that Anne quickly gets over her embarressment. She is impressed that he can talk about such things without getting flustered.
Boredom still reigns in the annex. Anne notes that she has to hear the same stories over and over again from the residents. Not only do they repeat their own stories over and over again, but they regurgitate the stories that their Dutch helpers relate over and over again. Anne applauds their Dutch helpers. Not only are they risking their lives for the Jews in the annex, but she says they "display heroism in their cheerfulness and affection." Politics are a big topic of discussion, especially the threat of an invasion. Meanwhile, Anne confides, she is "longing--so longing--for everything!"
Anne is still struggling with depression and loneliness, but her tone is slowly growing more hopeful. She remembers the great loves of her life and mourns, not helplessly, for the friends she has left behind. Note that in her diary entries, Anne is increasingly concerned with pinpointing the reasons for her angers and desires. She goes deep within herself to locate the source of her feelings towards her mother and is aware that she needs someone to confide in other than her diary. Anne's realization that she is not so strong as to be able to live without meaningful human contact is a mark of her maturity.
The recurring image of Lies is an interesting one. The fact that Lies continues to surface in Anne's mind reveals some guilty feelings on Anne's part. She is constantly aware that she is far better off than most European Jews, including some of her dearest friends. The recurring image of Lies is an important psychological view into Anne. She cannot help but to compare her situation with that of non-Jewish people (their protectors, for example) and feel rightfully jealous--but she also feels guilty about the people she was not able to save.
Otto Frank edited some of the pages in this section--ones that dealt with Anne's criticism of her parents' marriage. (The "young love" of Mr. Frank that Anne alludes to was expanded on in Anne's diary; she believed her father never got over this woman and that it affected his marriage.) Oddly enough, he did not edit many of Anne's remarks about sexuality. (The Dutch publisher was more concerned about these passages than he would have been about Anne's comments on the Franks' marriage.) Anne went through puberty in the annex, and she is surprisingly honest in her diary about all of her thoughts and feelings. She is naturally curious about Peter during this time because he is a young teenage male who seems to have more information about sex than she does; in addition she is going through hormonal changes and is wrestling with many of the questions of adolescence.