Diary of a Young Girl

This is a book about the life of a young girl as she went through childhood experiences from Germany to Netherlands. As the title says, the events that take place have been recorded in the form of a diary which the young girl was taking as she lived each and everyday.  Set in the aftermath of the First World War and the beginning of the Second World War, the book brings out the political and social issues that affected the Jews while in Europe. The regime of Hitler was being felt in Germany with Jews having a rough time to cope with discrimination and persecution for the other people.

The unfortunate incidences that befell the Jews made people like Ann to flee from Germany and head to Netherlands where they think they would find solace. During this incidences and political situations in the country, Ann is a young girl undergoing developmental processes. She therefore seems to be struggling to find herself and understand her predicaments. “Hitler took away our nationality long ago. In fact, Germans and Jews are the greatest enemies in the world”(p 36). This phrase recorded on Friday 9th October 1942 can be interpreted to mean that a child of her age was well aware of the society and some of the problems that existed. The phrase means that Ann at her age was aware of the animosity that prevailed between the Jews and the Germans.  During normal child development, it is unlikely for the child to have reached such levels of awareness.  The phrase can also be interpreted to mean that by virtue of the fact that Jews and Germans were enemies, then she could no establish friends with the Germans. There seems to be an overstatement of the potentials of the child particularly in tackling problems that can only be visualized by the adults.

Theories of child development argue that change of environment has an impact on acquisition of important skills in the child. For instance the learning of language can be impaired if the parents move from one person to another. As the family moves from Germany to Netherlands there is no record of how the development process in various dimensions was affected.  It is unlikely that a child who was moved from one environment to another was not affected by the changes in the people and other social factors that determine effective development.   “Peter, if only I could help you, if only you would let me! Together we could drive away your loneliness and mine.”(p150). This phrase shows that Ann was aware of some sociological development changes that were taking place in her life. However the author does not give a clear description of how sociological challenges were tacked by the young girl within the prevailing situations in the society.

Child development is a systematic and very crucial process in which the child has to pass through various experiences so as to acquire the necessary developmental aspects. The book has been closely linked to child development based on the understanding that it brings out the story of a young girl who was going through various experiences in Germany during her childhood. For instance her relationship with her parents can help to tell a lot about child development. The fact that she liked her father more than her mother who she describes to be lacking love. This can be associated with theories of child development especially during teenage age. Despite this, there are several underpinnings about the intention of the author in the way she has articulated the main themes in the book and how they are connected to child development theories. (Cole& Lightfoot,2004)

In the book there is mere mentioning of the experiences that she went through in the course of her childhood. The author does not take it upon herself to describe or tell the audience the effects of the various experiences and environmental aspects and how they impacted on child development. Instead much focus has been put on a narration of how Anne was struggling to get used to the environment of oppression that was applied to the Jews in Germany.

It is unlikely for child like her to have overcome all the challenges that were present in the environment during her development.  In the course of her diary entries, Ann seems to be maturing successfully. There are so many questions concerning her abilities that have not been answered by the Dairy. This can tempt people into concluding that the suffering after the world war was just a creation of the author to impact on the readers.

From the experiences that the audience has been treated to in the book, one can conclude that the story is more about the bad regime of Hitler’s and the suffering it brought to some of the minority groups. Instead of focusing on the various aspects of child development the tone of the author seems to be more critical of the regime of that time that is to be blamed for all their misfortunes. In the first pages of the book the readers are told that the young girl had to attend separate schools by the anti-Semitic laws. This is a clear indication that the Jews were a minority group in the country and they faced a lot of discrimination from the government. This situation worsened when they had to move to Netherlands just before the Second World War. The main reason that triggers their movement from Germany is the persecution by the other groups.

Essentially this can prompt analysts into concluding that the author had an intention of seeking the emotions of the readers. From what has been recorded in the book it is clear that there is suffering of the young girl from the word go. This therefore justifies that the author just intended to ignite emotions from the readers rather than to deliver a strong argument or discussion about childhood development as it has been argued by most analysts.

Social development of the child involves interpersonal relations through which the emotional aspect of an individual is enhanced. According to the theory of attachment by John Bowlby, a child goes through an interpersonal attachment with the caregiver and other people in the environment so as to acquire social and emotional development.  It is clear from the Diary that Anne is an individual who has gone through a lot in terms of social and emotional development. The account in the diary does not clearly articulate how the environment in which she lived in Germany affected her social and emotional development. The fact that the diary has not clearly outlined how interpersonal relationships contributed towards the future reaction of Anne to other people simply means that the book is inadequate in illustrating aspects of social development in the child. (Cole& Lightfoot,2004)

Ann as the main character in the book has depicted a lot concerning personality development. This is true particularly while considering the fact that she finds no confidant amongst the group of children she schooled with. Instead she finds it most convenient to write about her life in the diary. This kind of approach reveals a lot about her character and overall personality. She is an individual who cannot confront the reality and tell her friends about the unfortunate events that happened in her life. This is unlike in the normal circumstances whereby a child who has interacted with others in school is in a position to share problems and experiences with friends who are made while in school.

The tone of the Diary also reveals a lot about the fake intentions of the author. The author has every now and then used a very emotional and insecure tone to express the unfortunate environment she was subjected to during her child development. It is clear that she is conscious about what was happening around her during that time.

As noted in her recordings, she is critical of herself and others within the same society. This level of awareness during child development cannot come at this early age under normal circumstances. Ann tends to be putting the blame on herself for the unfortunate events that shape their life. This cannot happen under the real life situation. This is because children at this stage of development are often attached to their parents and guardians and when some misfortunes occur they would put pressure on their parents to act so as to protect them.

The relationship between Ann and her mother also speaks volumes about her character as concerns child development. It is not possible that as a child at that tender age , she was well aware of what was expected from her mother in terms of love and other sociological needs. In the book it has been mentioned that “I only look at her as a mother, and she just doesn't succeed in being that to me; I have to be my own mother.’ (pg41). This means that Ann was not contended with the efforts that were done by her mother in her upbringing. It also shows that she is disrespectful of her parents by not acknowledging them in their efforts to make her life better.

She claims to be a mother of her own , something that cannot be justified in the book. Even though she was exposed to suffering and persecution, she should not blame her mother for the bad situation in Germany.

When she mentions that “I have in my mind's eye an image of what a perfect mother and wife should be.”(pg 41). She categorically means that her mother was incapable of taking her through child development in the right way. During child development as explained by various theories , the mother plays a very important role for instance in the acquisition of language skills. Ann fails to recognize this and resorts to complaining about the mother for not fulfilling some issues that can be considered to be trivial.

In conclusion, it is vital to note that the Diary of the young girl seems to be a good illustration of child development aspects. The young girl Ann seems to be at center stage in the illustration of child development in the book. The bad situations of the environment that is characterized by discrimination and persecution can be detrimental to good child development. This has not been well articulated in terms of their effect on Ann. The intentions of the author to illustrate child development can therefore be questioned on such grounds. Otherwise the book is excellent in terms of articulating the effects of the bad political regime during the reign of Hitler and how it impacted on child development amongst the minority ethnic groups like the Jews. Ann and her family went through these situations and even moved from Germany to Netherlands.

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