A Comparison of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Night by Elie Wiesel

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In the novel “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”, the author uses several literary devices to contribute to both the major and minor themes of the memoir. Such literary devices are similar to “Night”, another memoir by Elie Wiesel. Both novels are set in the years of World War Two in middle- eastern countries during the Holocaust. The authors of the two novels, Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel, were close in age but their experiences with the Holocaust differ greatly. Anne’s and Elie’s use of descriptive language and other such devices heighten the effect that their publications have on its readers.

Anne is a young girl living in Amsterdam who is forced to hide with her family and another family from the Nazi regime. Anne is considered lucky since she escaped the concentration camps while several of her friends were deported. Hanneli was one of Anne’s friends who frequently appears in Anne’s dreams. In these dreams, she is clothed in rags and appears to be worn down, physically and emotionally. Hanneli had previously been arrested and deported to a Nazi concentration camp. She serves as a reminder of the fate of Anne’s friends, companions and several million other Jews who suffered from the camps. In the novel, Hanneli serves as a symbol of the guilt that Anne has since she managed to escape concentration camps for nearly two years. This symbol is significant to the theme of suffering which the novel portrays.

Suffering is a major theme in both “Night” and “Anne Frank’s Diary”, but they are expressed using different symbols. Anne’s guiltiness is symbolic to suffering while Elie’s use of the word “night” is symbolic, also. When Elie first hears news of deportation, he says, “Night fell.” By saying this, he is not simply describing physical darkness, he using night as a symbol of tragic events, and/or suffering. In “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”, Anne’s grandmother also appears in her dreams. To Anne, her grandmother is symbolic of love and support, also the yearning Anne has for the life she previously had before she went into hiding.

She writes in her diary about how she longs to tell her grandmother how much everyone truly loves and misses her, similarly to how Anne wishes she didn’t take her life before going into hiding for granted. The author commonly portrays by writing in her diary that she misses living a life which she was not constantly worrying about her future might bring. Anne imagines her grandmother as her “guardian angel” who will forever be there for protection, and often returns to this image during times when she experiences feeling of insecurity and fear.

Religious conflicts are apparent in Elie’s and Anne’s memoirs. In Night, the narrator questions whether he should obtain faith in God several times throughout the novel. He often feels as though God does not exist, because if his existence is true then no one would be forced to endure the brutal life of the concentration camps. In Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne frequently wonders if she can call on God for strength through tough times. Loneliness is commonly reflected by the entries in Anne’s diary.

Although Elie and Anne’s publications appear to be similar in several ways, the main themes in the two memoirs differ. The main theme of “Night” is a person’s inhumanity towards his fellow beings, as portrayed by the harsh and unfair treatment of the Jews due to the Nazi’s intolerance against them. As a result to the torture of the Jews of the concentration camps, the prisoners eventually become animal-like. For example, when a portion of food is thrown towards a crowd of prisoners, they will trample on each other and, in some instances, kill one another for a simple ration of food.

The main theme in “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl”, coming of age and the search for Anne’s own identity. An important factor in her memoir is the fact that it was written during her adolescent years. She encountered many normal teenage issues which include the need for her own privacy. blossoming sexuality, and the search for identity. A good amount of Anne’s diary is used trying to discover what kind of person she is. She commonly criticizes herself for her selfishness, agonizes over her friends and their fates, and tries to act in a way that will please her parents and the others surrounding her.

The use of detailed language is critical in the themes represented in the novels. Detailed descriptions and the use of imagery help the reader develop an attachment to the novel and its characters. Tone is also an excellent literary tool used to heighten the effect the novel has on the reader. Correspondingly, images, descriptive dialogue, and tone are significant in order to characterize the themes of the novel. In example, in Elie’s memoir Night, a Nazi officer announced to a group of newly arrived prisoners, “If any of you is missing, you’ll all be shot, like dogs!” In this sentence, the simile is important to express the dehumanization that the Jewish prisoner experienced throughout their existence in the concentration camps.

With the examples given, it is clear that literary devices help develop an effect on the reader. Symbolism, tone, and imagery are only a few examples of literary tools which help portray the themes of any novel. Therefore, it is significant that the author includes a variety of literary tools and devices to heighten the effect his or her novel will have on its readers.

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A Comparison of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Night by Elie Wiesel. (2023, May 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/a-comparison-of-anne-frank-the-diary-of-a-young-girl-and-night-by-elie-wiesel/

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