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Old 27 April 2013, 04:50 AM
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Reading Mother complains about Anne Frank diary being ‘inappropriate’ for her daughter

A mother in Northville, Mich. has filed a formal complaint against her daughter’s school district, stating that some passages in the definitive edition of “The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank” are too graphic for seventh graders.

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/22...y-of-ann-frank
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Old 27 April 2013, 05:25 AM
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D'oh!

What did she want a "feel-good book" about the Holocaust and a young girl's going through adolescence in that time? But I must thank her for being among the many people who proves that Banned Books Week and the Freedom to Read are still necessary, despite others' protests to the contrary. Take a bow, Ms. Horalek and accept your reward:
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Old 27 April 2013, 05:39 AM
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I haven't read the book. However, I did read the excerpts that this woman objected to. Where I'm not about banning books at all; I do think that it wouldn't have been a bad idea to have some sort of meeting with parents regarding the material. The woman's objections had nothing to do with the Holocaust either. I do have to hand it to Anne Frank though, she had a much better grasp of female biology (or any human biology for that matter) than I did at that age or by my Senior year for that matter.
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Old 27 April 2013, 05:39 AM
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Did you not read the article? It was clear the mother knew the primary content of the Diary and approved. It was the sections about Anne discovering the development of her body the mother was concerned about. I have not read it, but I have heard the descriptions are very blunt. If you are expecting that, it is one thing, but if you are expecting to read about dealing with hiding from the Nazis and the fear, etc. and suddenly there is graphic sex, it can be very disconcerting. Kids that age vary greatly in their development and the issues they are ready to deal with. In this case, it was not the mother (reportedly) that initially objected to the passages, but her daughter saying they made her too uncomfortable.
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Old 27 April 2013, 05:41 AM
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Holy Crap! ATNM can you hear hoof beats?!!!?? We agree and that has got me very nervous.
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  #6  
Old 27 April 2013, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
If you are expecting that, it is one thing, but if you are expecting to read about dealing with hiding from the Nazis and the fear, etc. and suddenly there is graphic sex, it can be very disconcerting.
I don't think I'd characterize a rather straightforward description of the female pubic area as "graphic sex."
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Old 27 April 2013, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
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I don't think I'd characterize a rather straightforward description of the female pubic area as "graphic sex."
I was under the impression there were also very detailed descriptions of Anne masturbating.
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Old 27 April 2013, 06:02 AM
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I wasn't aware that history was supposed to make people feel comfortable.
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Old 27 April 2013, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I was under the impression there were also very detailed descriptions of Anne masturbating.
The following is the passage from the 'The Definitive Edition of the Diary of a Young Girl' that has a mother in Northville filing a formal complaint:
Until I was eleven or twelve, I didn't realize there was a second set of labia on the inside, since you couldn't see them. What's even funnier is that I thought urine came out of the clitoris … When you're standing up, all you see from the front is hair. Between your legs there are two soft, cushiony things, also covered with hair, which press together when you're standing, so you can't see what's inside. They separate when you sit down and they're very red and quite fleshy on the inside. In the upper part, between the outer labia, there's a fold of skin that, on second thought, looks like a kind of blister. That's the clitoris."
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  #10  
Old 27 April 2013, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gayle View Post
I wasn't aware that history was supposed to make people feel comfortable.
It wasn't the historical content that was the problem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
The following is the passage from the 'The Definitive Edition of the Diary of a Young Girl' that has a mother in Northville filing a formal complaint:
I'll grant that this passage is not a sexual description, other than to the extent that it describes the female parts. This was not available from the original OP article when I read it. The current OP article seems to have been substituted for what was linked when I first read the OP. As I said, I was referring to the masturbation descriptions when I referred to sex scenes. Perhaps the Michigan girl or the mother did not get beyond the quoted passage in finding sexual content. The masturbation portions might have really squicked them out.
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  #11  
Old 27 April 2013, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
I was under the impression there were also very detailed descriptions of Anne masturbating.
Granted, it's been over 35 years since I read it in high school but I don't remember anything about masturbation. The only thing that even remotely sexual I can remember were some descriptions of her body. Even those were so clinical that it was like reading a textbook. While it's possible I could have forgotten it I read Portnoy's Complaint when I was in junior high and I can definitely remember the sex in that book.

I searched for some quotes from her book about sex and this is the only thing I could find:
Quote:
Losing your virtue doesn't matter, as long as you know that for as long as you live you'll have someone at your side who understands you, and who doesn't have to be shared with anyone else!
Not exactly racy. I searched for "diary of anne frank masturbation" and it only returned a single hit. It's a Yahoo Answers page, which are notoriously unreliable. If you click the link you'll see none of the commenters remember anything about masturbation.

However, as the OP states:
Quote:
The version of the diary in question includes passages previously excluded from the widely read original edition, first published in Dutch in 1947. That book was arranged by her father, the only survivor in her immediate family.
So, the version the woman in the OP is objecting to is not the version I read.

< hijack >
When I was a kid I would never read a book with a child protagonist voluntarily. So, when I took it a class where The Diary of Anne Frank was required reading I absolutely dreaded it. However, it became one of the my favorite books I read in high school. So, for those of you who haven't read it I definitely recommend it.
< hijack >

Brian
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  #12  
Old 27 April 2013, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianB View Post
I searched for "diary of anne frank masturbation" and it only returned a single hit.
Too late to edit. I looked at my search again and now I see it was a news and not a web search. Searching the web does return a lot of hits. Unfortunately, it returns several hits for sites that claim it was a forgery.

This thread on the Straight Dope forum has the following comment:
Quote:
I remember reading something about unpublished parts, and what was mentioned was two short passages in which she describes attempts to masturbate: one in which she says it feels good to touch herself there (and no more specific than that) and another in which she says that she can just fit one finger into her vagina.
If that's correct it would explain why I don't remember it since it wouldn't have been in the earlier edition I read.

Brian
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  #13  
Old 27 April 2013, 01:10 PM
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There are several versions of the diary, and several published versions as well. Anne Frank wrote the original version as a daily diary starting when she was 13 (the foreword to the Penguin Classics edition calls this version 'a'). But she herself came to the idea that it should be published at some point, and so a couple of years later she went over it again and made an 'edited for publication' version (b) where she tidied it up a bit, commented on some of her earlier entries and changed some names. Then when her father actually came to publish the diary after the war, he chose passages from both a and b to make a shorter version which was actually published in 1947 (c). The passages about sexuality were one of the bits he left out, as well as, apparently, some less flattering bits about some of the people in the hideout.

He died in 1980 at which point the manuscripts went to an institute for war documentation, and they went over them all again and published all three versions in full together with a commentary.

So if you read it before about 1980, or if you read a "standard" edition after then, rather than a critical edition, you may not have seen those bits. Clearly each edition will vary depending on the version they choose to use. (eta - leaving out translation issues, of course. I don't know how many different translations there are, and of which versions.)

The Penguin Classics edition (1997) says it's largely based on manuscript b - including the pseudonyms, although the real names are given in the foreword - so I guess it includes them, but I don't remember anything particularly shocking myself. The passages snopes quotes sounds familiar, and looking through it just now I found a part where she talks about feeling "a terrible urge to tough [her] breasts," and then this anecdote:

Quote:
Once when I was spending the night at Jacque's, I could no longer restrain my curiosity about her body, which she'd always hidden from me and which I'd never seen. I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we could touch each other's breasts. Jacque refused. I also had a terrible desire to kiss her, which I did. Every time I see a female nude, such as the Venus in my art history book, I go into ecstasy. Sometimes I find them so exquisite I have to struggle to hold back my tears. If only I had a girlfriend!
So no, she's not particularly coy about things. I'm not going to find any more as it seems wrong somehow to be going through Anne Frank's diary looking for the rude bits. Now she's making me uncomfortable too!

Last edited by Richard W; 27 April 2013 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 27 April 2013, 01:29 PM
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There are also discussions of how, in her alone time with Pater, he is "surprised" to find that the "opening" in a female body is between the legs.
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Old 27 April 2013, 01:35 PM
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Girl forced to go into hiding and later murdered, ok. Girl talking about her body and her burgeoning sexuality, oh my, I have the vapors!

Seventh graders are around the age Anne was when she kept her diary. It may make some uncomfortable but it is hardly inappropriate. It is no one's job to make sure no one is ever made uncomfortable.
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Old 27 April 2013, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Girl forced to go into hiding and later murdered, ok.
I know that this is nothing to do with the thread, but as we are on a site that deals with urban legends, it is worth pointing out that Anne was not murdered. She and her sister were sent to Auschwitz and later Bergen-Belsen concentration camps (neither were death camps) where they caught typhus. Both recovered, but Anne's sister fell from a top bunk and the shock, in her weakened state, killed her. This seemed to break Anne's spirit and she died a few days later.

(See the Epilogue in the Pan Horizons edition, published in 1989, but it was an English translation of the original 1947 version - the 'c' version in Richard's post.)
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Old 27 April 2013, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Girl forced to go into hiding and later murdered, ok. Girl talking about her body and her burgeoning sexuality, oh my, I have the vapors!

Seventh graders are around the age Anne was when she kept her diary. It may make some uncomfortable but it is hardly inappropriate. It is no one's job to make sure no one is ever made uncomfortable.
Thank you, I was just going to post exactly this. Well, yeah, she wasn't murdered, but your point still stands. Nazis, concentration camps, torture, forced labor, disease, and death are fine, but damn you if you mention a vagina!
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Old 27 April 2013, 03:40 PM
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Auschwitz II / Birkenau was a death camp -one of the most notorius, in fact. Auschwitz I was a "labour camp". Auschwitz I has the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign, and Auschwitz II is the one with the big arched gatehouse and the railway lines. I don't know offhand which site Anne Frank was taken to, though. I don't think people are generally aware that there are two distinct sites, both commonly referred to as "Auschwitz", otherwise they might be more specific. At a quick look in various sources, they all just say "Auschwitz".
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Old 27 April 2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigone201 View Post
Thank you, I was just going to post exactly this. Well, yeah, she wasn't murdered, but your point still stands. Nazis, concentration camps, torture, forced labor, disease, and death are fine, but damn you if you mention a vagina!
It's been a long time since I read the diary but as I recall it it isn't really about concentration camps, torture, forced labour or disease. It's about a young girl growing up in an unimaginably difficult situation. The mother may be out of line in her complaints (I don't believe she was wrong to at least raise her concern) but it's not because she thought a book about Nazi atrocities was ok.
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Old 27 April 2013, 03:52 PM
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Those things aren't described in the book, but you can't teach the book without teaching the Holocaust. It's the contrast between Anne's experience of puberty and the horror looming over her life that makes the book so poignant.
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