Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2001

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 755 times

Holocaust Essay "The pen is mightier than the sword" is a line written a century before Anne Frank wrote her famous diary, but it could have been written about her diary. Translated into fifty-five languages and read by twenty-five million people, The Diary of Anne Frank, with its messages of hope, forgiveness, perseverance, and courage, has outlasted the hate and destruction of World War II. In 1956 the diary found an even wider audience when it became a play by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett. The play, which won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for best drama, was not without controversy, for some critics felt it was not as faithful to the specifics of the Holocaust or the use standard literary techniques to create a form and structure for the diary materials they chose to use. These techniques, used to develop plot, character, and theme, are central to the success and longevity of their dramatized version of Anne Frank's diary.

Since Anne's diary was not written in story form, the playwrights had to structure a plot for the drama. The type of plot they created is a cliffhanger plot. In addition, Goodrich and Hackett employed several other literary elements important to any story and to this play. The most interesting /important feature/ element of the plot is foreshadowing. This occurs in the middle of their Hannukah celebration when they all hear a loud crash below them. There instantly is complete silence, Mr. Frank snaps for Peter to turn off the center lamp, but Peter cannot reach it so he tries to stand on a chair, but it falls over. The burglar below hears the crash and runs away without even closing the door. Now they are terrified of being caught. For example, "Do you hear anything? No, I think they've gone. It's the Green Police. They've found us. If they had, they wouldn't have left. They'd be up hear by now"¦ We've got to do"¦ Quick! Quick! Before they come back." This quotation fits foreshadowing by when the suspect below hears their crash it foreshadows their capture. Another Interesting/ important feature/ element of the plot is Flashback. For instance, "Anne's diary. Monday, the sixth of July, nineteen forty-two! Is it possible, Meip?"¦ Only three years ago. While Mr. Frank reads on, another voice joins in with his, as if coming from the air. It is Anne's voice." This quote really fits the flashback because it is Mr. Frank reading Anne's diary then it flashes back to Anne reading it. The plot in this story is very effective and it helps you understand suspicion in the novel. Because the characters in the play were real people, the eight methods of characterization had to be used carefully and skillfully. One method Goodrich and Hackett use in the play is physical appearance and personality. This method happens when the Franks first arrive at the Secret Annexe. Anne Frank is the person that is being developed. The dramatists write, "Anne comes running up the stairs. She is thirteen, quick in her movements, interested in everything"¦ She wears a cape, long wool socks and carries a school bag." The method of character trait established is energy and curiosity. This explains how Anne runs up the stairs and how she looks around everywhere. Another method the writers use is inner thoughts and feelings of the characters. Anne is also the character developed in this method too. This occurs when Mr. Kraler tells everyone about the workman who asked for a raise. Anne writes in her diary, "I feel that spring is coming. I feel in my whole body and soul. I feel confused. I am longing"¦for friends"¦for someone who understands"¦someone to talk to"¦someone young and fells the way I do"¦for everything"¦" The character trait established is that Anne feels that she has loneliness with everything. I think the characterization in this story is very important by the way it helps us relate to that character.

Yet, no matter how important other literary elements are to the drama, none is as significant as theme. One theme Goodrich and Hackett present is no matter how a person's outcome they are all God's children. This occurs at the very end of the story when Mr. Frank reads Anne's diary. The dramatists write, "Mr. Frank picks up the diary again, and turns the pages back to find a certain passage"¦We hear Anne's voice"¦In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." This theme applies to many people lives in a lot of ways. One way it would apply to my life is when I get in a fight with my friends or family, I forgive them in the end. We are all God's children and we need to forgive and forget. I think theme is very useful in this story because it teaches the reader something.

Through analysis of Goodrich and Hackett's use of literary techniques for developing plot, character, and theme, we can see the strength of the form and structure they gave Anne's diary in its drama form. We see how they condensed twenty-five months of numbing boredom into eight scenes of rising tension suspense within the short span of that plot with ten very real characters about whom we come to care deeply. And finally, we realize the great truths abut whom we come to care deeply. And finally, we realize the great truths about humanity and inhumanity, about human nature itself, which are the themes underlying, about human nature itself, which are the themes underlying every written or spoken word of the drama. It is those words that become part of us and lead us back to that famous old line about the pen and the sword. Because we have joined the millions who know The Diary of Anne Frank, we also know a great truth: Anne Frank's pen was indeed mightier than Adolf Hilter's sword.