Throughout The Diary of Anne Frank, there are examples of pettiness in sharing personal items with everybody. For example, Mrs. van Daan does not want her sheets to be used, yet expects to use the Franks’ sheets. Mrs. Frank does not want to use her dinnerware, yet expects the van Daans dinnerware to be used.
The generosity and self-sacrifice of the men and women who save the eight people in the Secret Annex are contrasted throughout the diary with Mrs. van Daan and Mr. Dussel, who hoard personal belongings and space and who fail to thank those who give them shelter in a time of desperate need.
Questions About Selfishness
Chew on This
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
Even though we might like to criticize Mrs. van Daan’s clinging to her belongings, her apparent stinginess and pettiness is merely a manifestation of the greater stress she was living under, not a consistent character defect.
Although the protectors should be commended for their selflessness and bravery, it is also true that they had less at stake than the members of the Secret Annex.
In Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, isolation causes greed.