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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler


by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Theme of Dissatisfaction

This one's definitely for Claudia, who from the very beginning of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is bored to death with her suburban, childhood life. We get the sense that Claudia isn't even happy when things are perfect—she wants to run away, after all. She's not happy with her family, school, or even herself, so she goes on this quest where she's not really sure what she's seeking out. It's kind of like playing chess without knowing the rules (except with higher stakes). In the end, though, Claudia finds the excitement and adventure that she needs to go back home happily—instead of kicking and screaming.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. Why is Claudia so unhappy with her life at the beginning?
  2. If she wants to run away from everything (including her family), why doesn't Claudia leave on her own? Why does she decide to go with Jamie? 
  3. When they find out that the museum officials already know about the stonemason's mark, why is Claudia so devastated? 

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Claudia experiences dissatisfaction because she is such a perfectionist and overachiever in her everyday life; things come too easily and she gets bored. 

Even with all her expensive and nice things, Mrs. Frankweiler is still dissatisfied with her life. That's why she understands Claudia's reasoning so well.

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