I'll be glad to comment on your answers.
I dont know the answer to this question either, but I desperately need help with it!!! :(
Im on the same question :/
Stuck on the same one, too. Ugh.
I wonder if Mother is, or is forced to be, a bit too self-sacrificing and too patient. I am having trouble with Anne's lack of respect to Edith either as a person or as a Mother.
When Otto scolds Anne for her reproaching letter, Anne has genuine regrets. She feels ashamed of making Pim sad. She has taken this incident very seriously for months even after being forgiven on the spot.
But Anne barely feels heartily sorry for, and humbly ashamed of, making Mother suffer a lot. Although she demands Mother to fulfill her own unmet needs by becoming the "ideal Mother (and wife)" who can understand and guide her, she barely respects and thinks of Mother's welfare. Although Anne expresses regrets on her past emotional outbursts in her entry on Jan 2, 1944, she nonetheless keeps blaming Mother for not being the "ideal Mother (and wife)" and looks down on her even after this entry.
Although Anne reduces the emotional outbursts towards her mother after starting to talk with Peter and Margot, emotionally detaching from Pim, and becoming more connected to God, this change seems to be more to do with Anne's increased self-sufficiency on her part. She is now less helpless than before and therefore has decreased needs to expect Mother to fulfill her emotional needs. But it is not necessarily the case that she has started to pay more respect to Mother as a person. She does have reflections and regrets on it; nonetheless blames at Mother tend to overcome.
I am having trouble with this. Is this something to do with the more general norm in society at that time that Mother is supposed to be only selfless and self-sacrificing who has no personal needs besides caring for husband and children? And perhaps has Edith been too perfect in her role performance as a sacrificing Mother to let Anne realize that Edith deserves respect to her personal wellbeing? When he received Annes reproaching letter, Otto strongly scolded Anne that she did great injustice to her parents. But neither Edith nor Otto seems to have brought Anne to facing the fact that she is making Edith suffer in a great deal. They keep trying to be understanding of adolescent psychology when Anne behaves like an indignant princess and hope that it will be solved as the time passes.
While Anne strives for her own individuation, on the one hand, she thinks of Mother only from the roles as her Mother and father's wife who should tailor her behaviors and attitudes based on their needs and expectations, on the other hand. Anne is blaming Mother for not meeting her expectations as an ideal Mother who can understand her. Then she even extends her blame on Edith's relationship to her husband by judging her for not being a lovable confidant of her husband, at least in Anne's eye.
Anne's demands are a bit different from the traditional role expectancy for Mother and Wife in that her main expectations are mutual understanding and trust rather than conventional role performances that Edith has perfectly fulfilled. But nonetheless, she does not want Edith to be a friend but would like her to become what she thinks of the ideal Mother (and wife). She is angry that Edith is not the Mother she dreams of.
Although it is not uncommon for a career-oriented daughter to deny or look down on her mother's traditional role, it is not that Anne shows any interests in Edith as a person, either. So when Anne thinks that she has reached the point where she "doesn't need Mother" any longer, Edith becomes almost invisible in diary during the last three months of hiding.
Hm... well, Anne and Edith's relationship was complicated from the start. Even as a baby, Anne gave Edith a lot more to work with than Margot. As a kid, she was already strong-willed and outgoing, and seemed to have formed her own personality and quirks very quickly. Maybe Edith wasn't sure how to handle this and it was a sort of "trial and error" thing while she was trying to raise her. Their personalities were very different, that did not help, and I think it hurt Edith to understand that Anne preferred Otto and was much closer to him.
Just as Anne had her view and expectations of her mother, I think Edith had her own expectations of Anne, and she was probably disappointed that they were not met. I agree that Anne was too critical of her mother and she wrote things of her mother mostly when she was angry. I believe Edith was as sweet and gentle and unselfish as she has been portrayed to be.
Anne was at that age where young teenagers question everything and everyone, and form their own opinions and judgement, much of which changes as they become older (which happened with Anne)
It's unfortunate that it took so much tears, suffering and heartache before Anne could come to terms with Edith and try to understand her in the least bit and try to form a better relationship with her.
Then what kind of ideals would you think that Edith had on her daughters?
To me, Edith seems to have a more interesting, complex personality than she might appear at the first sight. Although Edith looks like a typical upper-middle class woman of her time who had a good marriage and performed the roles of the wife and the mother so perfectly, it seems that she herself had some signs of a liberated woman as well. Though shy, Edith seems to have enjoyed happy times as a young woman, dancing, playing tennis, going to a beach etc. She had a number of close female cousins. One of them was among the first women to drive a car in Germany, who was also the brain of the family in business. She was also very well educated. She went to a Protestant school and received classic education. When Margot was born, Edith wished to have a household independent from Otto’s mothers and they moved to a new apartment in the same city, according to Anne’s biography (Mellissa Muller). Edith was also known for being a clever, family-oriented person and her family treasured true values. She and her mother were both very charitable ladies and never been hesitant to give the poor whatever they needed (according to the Carol Ann Lee book on Otto Frank).
Regarding Ediths specific expectations on girls, first, Anne describes Ediths principles in childrearing as modern. They let the girls develop their characters. Anne thought that her parents did not worry much about her records as long as she was happy. But they nonetheless let them study a lot as the girls liked it. Less emphasis seems to have been put on helping out household chores.
Both Anne and Margot wanted to have a professional career when they grew up. On the other hand, Edith herself remained in the very traditional female roles. This makes it a bit complicated because Edith herself did not have the career that she might have expected her daughters to have in future. Although Edith seems to have been very progressive in her thought, the generation gap in experience might have been serious.
Second, another possible discrepancy next to career may have been religion. Edith seems to have been very deeply religious. Both Edith and Margot went to synagogue very often. But Anne and Otto barely did so. According to Otto Frank, Anne seems to have been barely interested in religious practices to which her mother and Dr. Pfeffer dedicated themselves during the hiding. While Anne was very religious/spiritual and strongly identifies herself with Judaism (e.g., the entry on the night they thought that they would be discovered), her religious practices may not have taken the forms of traditional religious practices. According to Otto's letter (from Carol Ann Lee's book on Otto), Edith was "not narrow-minded" and did not expect or want her less-religious spouse to engage in traditional religious practices such as fasting. Nonetheless, Edith might have been pleased if Anne had shown more interests in traditional religious practices.
Third, I think that there would be some cultural gap between Edith and Anne. As I noted elsewhere (Cultural atmosphere of their circle back in 30s/40s), the cultural atmosphere in the newer environment may have been very different from the one Edith was very used to. Her German, upper-middle cultural values may have been different from what her youngest daughter as a Dutch girl envisioned in life. What was tragic for Edith was that her "home" and sociocultural environment back in Germany that supported her value systems were destroyed forever by Nazi's prosecution.
Fourth, I feel that Edith may have been sometimes concerned that Anne was spoiled as the baby of the family and wanted to discipline her once in a while. According to Jacque, both Edith and Margot were always "very sweet" to Anne at home. Other family friends also comment that Anne was rather spoiled especially by her father and always had her own ways.
When she was at Jewish school, for example, Anne and Lies cheated in French and got 0. But instead of accepting this deserving punishment, they somehow went to talk to the teacher with great indignation. Then they ended up telling that the other students were also cheating. In a biology class, a classmate threw a piece of paper reproaching her betrayal. The teacher told Anne to open it and to tell the teacher who had written it. When Anne said that she didnt know, the teacher said that it was a lie. Then the teacher asked the whole class who did it and it was Rob as Anne had indeed thought. Anne was furious for being told that she lied. She sent Pim to deal with the teacher.
I am rather surprised at her self-assurance and assertiveness here. Cheating is something you could get suspended or expelled for. The biology teacher was also not necessarily incorrect in saying that Anne was holding the truth. It was around the time when her parents were making desperate efforts to find the ways to escape Nazis prosecution. I am really amazed how supportive her father could be with every little thing with her. Compared to him, not only Edith but also any parent could be perhaps considered "not understanding" in Anne's eye.
Later Anne herself acknowledges that she had been so much spoiled by her parents when she was at home. But after coming to the Annex, the van Pels criticize Franks childrearing as too spoiling and too modern a number of times. According to Mieps book, Edith was very upset that Mrs. Van Pels criticized the Franks for letting their daughters be too free.This criticism was directed especially at Anne, on which Anne notes that both Mummy and Daddy strongly defended her. Dr. Pfeffer also let Edith know when Anne badly behaved. To calmly live with adults in the closed environment of the Annex, Anne needed to learn so much more self-discipline than she did back at home. According to diary, both Otto and Edith seem to have tried to correct Anne's shortcomings during 1942-1943, which frustrated Anne. Because the mother is commonly seen primarily responsible for the childrearing, because Edith was upset with the interventions by the other adult members of the Annex about the Franks' childrearing, and because Otto was an exceptionally understanding parent, Edith may have given her more sermons than Otto did.
Additionally, although this might be a bit minor point, I think that Edith may have wanted her girls to be ladylike. In Miep Giess book, there are a number of observations about Ediths childrearing. Both Anne and Margot are described as being very, very well mannered at the dinner table. Edith also had their girls dress very prettily. They always wore ironed cloths with colors and had freshly-washed, well-brushed hair. Miep felt that she would love to have daughters like hers. But compared to Margot, who was always like a little lady, Anne might have been considered bad mannered.
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