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Themes

Money, money, money. For a book about kids who make mere cents per week (literally) in allowance, there's sure a lot of mention of cash going around in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. From Jamie nitpicking over their every purchase when they run away, to the angel statue's bidding price of $225, to Mrs. Frankweiler's obviously rich home, money is always a part of the conversation. The idea of what "rich" is also comes up a lot; Jamie is considered rich by Claudia because he's saved up over $24 in allowance money. But Mrs. Frankweiler is on a whole other plane of wealth, and the kids get to take a peek into that world as well. It's all relative (pun intended).

Questions About Wealth

  1. Why are Claudia and Jamie both so aware of money even though they're just kids? 
  2. How does the definition of wealth change depending on which character we're looking at? 
  3. How important is material wealth to Claudia? Is her desire for "fine things" satisfied by the end? 
  4. If they didn't have Jamie's money, how different would their experience of running away be? 

Chew on This

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

Claudia runs away because of the injustice of her financial means, but in the end, she finds that material wealth is less important than acquiring new secrets and experiences.

Mrs. Frankweiler may be rich in financial terms, but she's lacking in a lot of things that qualify as real wealth.

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