Symbolism - The Diary of Anne Frank

by Lucine Devejian

Mrs. Van Daan's Fur Coat

Mrs. Van Daan's fur coat symbolizes the wealth and selfishness of her and Mr. Van Daan. Mrs. Van Daan's father purchased it for her before he dies, so it has special meaning to her, but it is used in ways in the play that show selfishness and greed.

The fur coat is included in the stage directrions describing Mrs. Van Daan. "She wears a fur coat over her other clothes." It was included to give the idea that Mrs. Van Daan is wealthy.

When Anne spills milk on Mrs. Van Daan's coat, it adds tension to the plot. "... Do you know what that coat cost? Do you? And now look at it!... I could just kill you for this. I could just kill you!." Mrs. Van Daan, although the coat has special meaning to her because her father bought it for her, bothers to bring up the cost of the coat. A family heirloom shouldn't be defined by its monatery value, but she mentions it anyway.

"My father gave that to me the year before he died. He always bought the best that money could buy." This shows Mrs. Van Daan's wealth was inherited and she grew up in a rich family. She might not be as selfish if she had grown up in a middle or lower class family, because she would be able to appreciate what she had as an upper class individual.

"As I have often reminded Mrs. Van Daan, it's very selfish of her to keep it when people outside are in such desperate need of clothing..." Mr. Van Daan is selling his wife's fur coat just so he can get more cigarettes. Mr. Van Daan is taking away the last thing of importance that Mrs. Van Daan has for his own personal benefit. That is a very selfish and conceited action, and his excuse is that Mrs. Van Daan is the selfish one in the situation.

The Carillon

The carillon is the only thing they can rely on. Everything in their world is turned upside down, but the carillon always reminds them that life goes on and they are not just in a long dream. Sometimes they forget that they are alive and time is passing, but the carillon interrupts them and brings them back to the real world.

"He goes to the window at the back, looking off at the Westertoren as its carillon strikes the hour of six then he moves restlessly on." After the Holocaust is over, Mr. Frank made it out alive, but he is devastated because all of the people he lived with in the annex were killed. The carillon brings him out of his depressing thoughts and he continues with what he was doing.

"The carillon is heard playing the quarter hour before eight...'I must go.'" Mr. Kraler and Mr. and Mrs. Frank are having a conversation of importance, but the Westertoren reminds Mr. Kraler he has a job to do, and a place to be; he can't relax with the Franks and the Van Daans all day.

"As he starts toward the sink the carillon begins to chime the hour of eight... He turns to Peter, indicating in pantomime that it is too late." Peter was going to get water for Mouschi, which is probably a normal thing for him to do. However, the carillon reminds him that his circumstances are not normal and might prevent him from doing normal things. He is, after all, in hiding.

Anne and Peter are conversing and sharing their opinions, but then the carillon interrupts it. "The carillon starts to strike nine o'clock... 'Nine o'clock. I have to go.'" It reminds them that there is an end for everything and they can't just talk forever.