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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 Freedom and Confinement

If you read about how Claudia sees her home life at the beginning of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, you'd think that she was stuck in a prison instead of just living a normal childhood life. But when she and Jamie break free, they end up going to a place where they are often locked in and then set free. At the museum, they have to hide and stay inside when the museum is closed, and they can only leave during the day. But they're confined by their own decision—they want to stay at the museum, after all. So in a way, by staying locked up at the museum, Claudia and Jamie are really exercising their freedom. How about that?

Questions About Freedom and Confinement

  1. What's so bad about their life at home that makes Claudia and Jamie want to run away? 
  2. How do the kids feel about being locked into the museum at night? Does it take away or give them more power? 
  3. What do you think of the idea that the documents (and the secrets) of the angel statue were formerly contained, and now they're set free? 
  4. When Claudia and Jamie return home at the end, is it a choice? 

Chew on This

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

At the museum, Claudia and Jamie find the freedom to live the kind of life they want to, regardless of their family, expectations, or age.

Claudia relates so much to the angel statue because she feels trapped or confined in the same way it is.

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