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Becoming Women In Strenuous Circumstances And Using Writing As A Form Of Comfort

1896 words - 8 pages

What s a girl? A human creature? A daughter? A friend? A girl is everything. She is sensitive and assertive, she is beautiful and unique and although she is all of these wonderful qualities; in the time of World War II and the holocaust women no matter if they were German or Jewish or any other nationalities were cast into their classical gender role responsibilities. This is the case for Anne in “The Diary of A Young Girl” by Anne Frank, and Liesel in “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. They had to mature into a woman in very unusual circumstances and used writing as a form of comfort.
Becoming a woman happens in every girl’s life through puberty, but for Anne and Liesel it happens in very unusual circumstances. Anne is a thirteen year old girl when she first goes into hiding in the annex; which is a secret living space, as she is Jewish in World War II. She turns fifteen just before the family is arrested. So her diary is a first hand experience on her challenges of puberty under these unusual circumstances, and the issues she struggles with which are universal for all girls going through puberty. Like any normal young girl growing up she talks about her sexuality. Only in Anne’s case, she does not have any close friends to share these experiences or feelings with as she is in hiding. So she writes in her diary about what she is learning about herself. As she grows up and starts to compare herself to her mother and to other women such as her sister, this becomes obvious when she falls for the boy named peter in the secret annex and says
“I know I’m starting at a very young age. Not even fifteen and already so independent- that’s a little hard for other people to understand. I’m pretty sure Margot would never kiss a boy unless there was some talk of an engagement or marriage. Neither peter nor I have such plans. I’m sure that mother never touched a man before she met father”(Frank, 264)
This passage shows that her time in the secret annex changed her from a bold and disrespectful girl to a more emotionally independent young woman. These changes in her life often make her think about what it means to be a woman and a mother. Where as Liesel grows up in a very different way, Liesel is nine years old, almost ten at the start of the book thief and she is fifteen towards to the end of the novel exactly like Anne. She knows up not really knowing her real family very well and struggles with the death of her brother. But as she grew into a young women realizes that everyone in her and everyone in the world has or will experience loss and pain; and she reevaluates people she initially considered weak with new understanding. Unlike Anne she does not fall in Love with anyone till towards the end of the book, and even then she has survivors guilt because Rudy has an untimely death and “ He must have loved her so incredibly hard. So hard that he would never ask for her lips again and would go to the grave without them”. This event makes Liesel grow up into...

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