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The Diary of Anne Frank: A Compare and Contrast Essay between the Franks and the Van Daans.

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During World War II, the Franks and the Van Daans were hiding in a small area of two to three rooms, with a single window, in the attic of an office building in Amsterdam. In her diary, Anne refers to it as the "secret annex." For two years, these close quarters serve as a shelter and protection for the families against the Nazi enemy. While in hiding, problems and the characters' true natures evolved, revealing their differing personalities and value systems. Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who writes a diary of her experiences during World War II, tells about the major characters in the play. The two characters that I chose to compare were Otto Frank, Anne's father and the only survivor of the group hiding, and Mr. Van Daan, Otto Frank's Jewish associate.

Otto Frank was probably the most generous and calm person of the "family." Otto Frank was a devoted father and husband while in hiding. He helped the children by tutoring them and helping them with schoolwork. He not only helped Margot and Anne, but he offered to help Peter, the Van Daan's son. Otto Frank was intelligent when it came to helping the kids. He tried his best to make them understand. He also had a very good profession, which happened to be right below the annex. Another important characteristic of Mr. Frank was that he was modest and fair. As Anne says from her diary, "(Father) is the most modest person at the table. He always looks to see whether the others have been served first. He needs nothing for himself; the best things are for the children. He's goodness personified." Otto Frank paid back the debts to Mr. Van Daan. He is always doing what he feels is the right thing to do, always returning the favor. He makes sure that the family divides everything up equally among them, always referring to himself last. "He walks around with his lips pressed together," as quoted in Anne's diary. Lastly, Otto Frank is very hopeful and courageous when it comes to raising the family. After the first thief attempted to take money in the office, Otto Frank told the family that they would remain in the secret annex. He again decided to stay after the Nazi Police came up to the secret bookcase, nearly inside their hideout. Under these actions, Otto Frank was caring, kind, courageous, and helpful.

In comparison to Otto Frank, Hermann Van Pels, or more commonly known as Mr. Van Daan to Anne, was much different from Otto Frank. Hermann Van Daan was the "crab" of the family. He was the selfish, self-centered one, with a greedy and inconsiderate attitude. Evidence of Hermann Van Daan's selfish attitude was all of his complaining about the food. Mr. Van Daan was constantly complaining that there wasn't enough food for the family. He also expressed himself as self-centered by using money for cigarettes, instead of the family's assets. He also acted stubborn when Mr. Dussel was going to join the family, complaining again. Another trait that made Hermann Van Daan different from Otto Frank was his greedy attitude. Earlier in the movie, Mr. Van Daan announced that Peter's cat, Mouschi, would have to go. Later, the cat was missing. In only assumption, Mr. Van Daan might have gotten rid of the cat, or done something else harmful to it. He was also caught stealing loaves of bread that belonged to the family. In relation, he was asking everyone else in the family for their food because he was so greedy. Lastly, another trait that completely distinguishes Hermann Van Daan from Otto Frank is his inconsideration. Mr. Van Daan was disgusted with Mouschi, and he threatened to get rid of Peter if the cat couldn't go by himself. Apparently, Mr. Van Daan was very caring for his own son or his own son's cat. Another instance was when he sold Mrs. Van Daan's fur coat. The fur coat was a valuable item to Mrs. Van Daan and Mr. Van Daan decided to sell it for more cigarettes. Finally, his attitude toward the rest of the family, particularly to Anne, was rude and obnoxious. Unfortunately, the only similarities between Mr. Frank and Mr. Van Daan were their roles. In other words, they were both fathers, to Anne and Margot, and to Peter. They were also husbands, Mr. Frank to Edith and Mr. Van Daan to Petronella. One similarity that was fortunate for the family is that they were both good businesspeople. Otto Frank enlisted in the German army after the start of World War I. He also enjoyed photography which is why there were so many pictures of Anne and his family. Hermann Van Daan, on the other hand, was an expert in the preparation of various herbs and managed to get a job working for Opekta. However, Mr. Frank and Mr. Van Daan had efficient jobs to support their families, despite their attitudes.

Consequently, the completely different attitudes of these two people affected life in the Secret Annex. Mr. Frank, the kind, generous, and a warmhearted polite person, could keep the family together. Unlike Mr. Van Daan, the mean, selfish, and cold-hearted man, made some situations worse. Even so, despite their few similarities, the two families could survive for about two years in the secret annex. It wasn't until August 4, 1944, when they were discovered and taken to concentration camps, where Mr. Frank was the only to survive.

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