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“The ignored lesson of Anne Frank” by Brun Bettelheim Essay


People have endured a lot of turmoil throughout their history. There have been many periods of the reign of inhumanity and vice. The Nazi rule was one of such inhumane periods in the history of Europe.

Millions of innocent people were tortured and murdered. Bruno Bettelheim (1960) notes that many of those deaths could have been prevented. The writer claims that many people were responsible for their own and their close one’s deaths.

The inability of many people to understand what was going on led to deaths. Bettelheim (1960) analyses Otto Frank’s choices along with other Jewish families’ actions during the Holocaust.

According to the writer, Otto Frank did not want to change his life which was the cause of the horrible end for his family. The author’s standpoint can be supported by a variety of life stories as well as works of fiction.

Admittedly, when the world changes, it is essential to change along with it. Notably, only the ability to adjust to the environment helps all species to survive. An individual cannot have the same life in the world which has changed dramatically.

In the first place, it is important to note that Bettelheim (1960) does not only analyze the story and reveal his viewpoint. He supports his ideas using real stories. He adds that many Jews did not want to change their lives as they were sorry for their possessions and their ways.

The author asked many people about their reasons to stay in the country where they were doomed. Those people responded that they had hated to leave their jobs, their homes, and all their possessions. Those people hoped that the persecution of the nation would not reach them.

Bettelheim (1960) stresses that those who managed to change their lives dramatically and leave the country or hide effectively managed to survive. Admittedly, this is the only way out.

Otto Frank’s choices were serious mistakes which led to the terrible end. Otto Frank chose to ignore the changes and live his ordinary life. The world around him had gone to pieces and he as well as his family was in great danger.

However, he thought it would be better to live together and endure possible sorrows together. However, this choice made them even more vulnerable as it was easier to find a whole family rather than an individual.

Otto Frank did not want to accept the new reality and hoped that everything was going to be fine. Nevertheless, ignorance never leads to success, but it often becomes the reason of death.

It is possible to provide several fictional characters to support the idea of the necessity to change along with the changing world. One of the most conspicuous characters to support this idea is John, the protagonist of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

The man is taken from the world he knows to the brand new world which is different. Huxley (2006) describes the protagonist’s suffering and decay. John cannot get used to the new life, and he is hostile to everything in that world.

John makes a decision which is similar to the one made by Otto Frank. John tries to hide, but he still lives too close to the society which sees him as an outcast. John fails to find a safe place and his enemy (the society he hates) finds him and destroys him as he is forced to commit suicide.

Likewise, Otto Frank tries to hide, but he does not do it properly. He continues living with his family through the chances to survive would be higher if they lived in different families.

Another fictional character can be regarded as an example of the inability to survive due to the desire to live an ordinary life. Ray Bradbury’s Mr. Leonard Mead is also a person who failed to change his life (Bradbury, 1951). The man loves fresh air and nature. He also likes long walks.

However, the world around him has changed. Now, it is dangerous to walk during the night. Mr. Mead takes the risk but loses.

Just like the Franks, Mr. Mead does not want to change his ways even though he understands that it can be risky. This inability to foresee the consequences leads the man to the asylum for mentally ill people.

Admittedly, the man could try to find other ways to relax. He could also try to find safer places for his hobby and passion. Nonetheless, he is reluctant to find new ways and to change. Therefore, he is doomed.

At the same time, it is possible to find fictional characters who managed to change and survive in a brand new world. Thus, Montag, the protagonist of the novel Fahrenheit 451, manages to survive and change (Bradbury, 2012).

The man who is a part of the system manages to see that there is something wrong in it. Moreover, he can be regarded as a product of the system as he believes everything he is told and he has lived quite a long life without noticing the vices of society.

At some point, Montag understands that he cannot live in that world anymore.

Unlike Otto Frank, Montag does not ignore reality and is ready to fight for his life. He is not capable of waiting for something better to happen. He is not ready to tolerate the wrongs of society. Importantly, he does not expect that society will put up with his rebel.

Montag understands that society can punish him and he manages to escape. The man is active, and he strives for better reality for himself. Otto Frank should have made the same decision to escape and start a new life. This could have saved his family.

In conclusion, it is necessary to note that people who ignore the changes which take place are doomed. Frank Otto was unable to foresee the consequence of his choices and let his family be destroyed.

Such fictional characters as protagonists of Huxley’s Brave New World and Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” can be regarded as examples to support this viewpoint. These characters were unable to adjust to the changing world or escape from it. They were punished for their ignorance.

On the contrary, Montag, the protagonist of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, was capable of changing his life. He managed to survive and even start a new life. Of course, Otto Frank should have chosen Montag’s way. This could save Franks’ family from the horrible end.

It is necessary to remember that world literature provides examples of people’s choices and the possible consequences of those choices.

The world literature helps people learn valuable and sometimes vital lessons to be able to react accordingly in different situations. The main rule to keep in mind is to be able to change along with the changing world.

Reference List

Bettelheim, B. (1960). The ignored lesson of Anne Frank. The Harpers Monthly, 221(1326), 45-50.

Bradbury, R. (1951). The pedestrian. Web.

Bradbury, R. (2012). Fahrenheit 451. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Huxley, A. (2006). Brave new world. Cutchogue, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

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""The ignored lesson of Anne Frank" by Brun Bettelheim." IvyPanda, 17 Apr. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/the-ignored-lesson-of-anne-frank-by-brun-bettelheim/.

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IvyPanda. ""The ignored lesson of Anne Frank" by Brun Bettelheim." April 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ignored-lesson-of-anne-frank-by-brun-bettelheim/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. ""The ignored lesson of Anne Frank" by Brun Bettelheim." April 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ignored-lesson-of-anne-frank-by-brun-bettelheim/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '"The ignored lesson of Anne Frank" by Brun Bettelheim'. 17 April.

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