Study Guide

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Courage

By E. Lockhart

Courage

She admired herself for taking charge of the situation, for deciding which way it went. She admired her own verbal abilities, her courage, her dominance. (20.76)

Most girls would be mortified that they'd been seen chewing up and spitting out an ex boyfriend (verbally) in public, but not Frankie. She's kind of proud of herself.

Frankie walked deliberately over to Matthew's table and sat down. As if she owned it. As if she had any right to be there. (22.28)

Ooh, that's quite the social no-no there, Frankie. Doesn't she understand that the high school lunch table is a very political zone?

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows. "You have some balls." (22.38)

Well, that's kind of a crass way of saying it, but the seniors are obviously impressed by the fact that Frankie does not care what other people think of her. As they should be. We just wish that deep down Frankie cared a little less about what one person thought of her (cough—Matthew—cough).

She looped and knotted the twine on a spigot attached to a pipe near the door, switched on her flashlight, and walked quickly into the tunnels, ignoring the pricking feeling down her spine and reminding herself that she wasn't being watched. (36.5)

This is how every person dies in horror movies ever (crawling through dark abandoned tunnels) but Frankie forges onward anyway. She has a mission to carry out, and ain't no steam tunnel monster's gonna freak her out.

If Frankie had done what Matthew asked of her and stood Porter up, that would have been a win for Matthew. But as it was, she had gone to lunch against his wishes. (40.7)

Even though she's just a sophomore and is totally smitten with Matthew, Frankie's not going to let him boss her around and tell her what to do. She's not going to complain either—but she's going to do what she wants in her own quiet way.

Frankie's first impulse was to hide. (41.23)

Even though Frankie's terrified of getting caught in the tunnels, she keeps her cool despite the initial rush of terror and the fact that she's burned her arm on the steam pipe. She manages to get out of there and play it cool in front of the guard, even. Way to keep your head in the game.

Frankie forced a laugh. "You think someone carried that huge thing into the library with nobody noticing?" (41.23)

Like we said, Frankie's good at playing innocent even when she's almost caught red-handed doing something very, very dangerous. That's a sign of both courage and cleverness. Two things every budding feminist needs.

Frankie took a deep breath and said it. "I burned myself in the steam tunnels." (43.81)

Take a deep breath and take it easy. Frankie's about to do the brave thing and tell Matthew about everything—about how she's been following him and engineering all those pranks. But of course she's not so brave as to just come right out and say it. First she's gotta ease into it by revealing her presence in the steam tunnels.

Or rather, she chose to stay, even though she also found it terrifying. (45.8)

Even though she's likely to have a pretty terrible reputation when she returns to school, Frankie chooses to stay and make things happen for herself. She's not going to just run away with her tail between her legs. And isn't that what they say true courage is—being afraid of something and doing it anyway?

Frankie appreciated both the accolades and the rejections equally, because both meant she'd had an impact. (46.2)

There may be some haters at school, but Frankie can deal with it. She knows how to take care of herself.

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