Study Guide

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Dissatisfaction

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But as she looked at him laughing with Callum, Dean, and Alpha, Frankie remembered how Matthew had called her a "pretty package," how he'd called her mind little, how he'd told her not to change—as if he had some power over her. (13.7)

Okay, can we just take a moment to ask the question we've been dying to ask: why in the world is Frankie dating this dude in the first place, if all she does is complain about how he sees her? Why would she want to be with someone who belittles her, if she's such a budding feminist? We smell a little hypocrisy coming from Frankie, and it does not smell good.

And the dogs would mix juice and soda together, or quiz each other on dates for history, or draw ridiculous doodles in their notebooks, or make ornate paper airplanes instead of studying—and Frankie would be a part of it. Almost. (15.35)

The "dogs" have such a nice group of friends and Frankie likes sitting with them at lunch, but feels like she's only accepted on a conditional basis. After all, she's just a girlfriend. But, we'd like to point out: she could go make some more friends of her own. Trish would be happy to include her, after all. What's so dissatisfying about that?

Don't sound whiny. Don't sound defensive. Don't sound pitiful. Don't sound angry. I can't say any of the things I feel, because none of them are any good. (24.58-59)

This girl knows how to self-edit. Instead of letting Matthew know just how unhappy she is that he's ditching her, she keeps it in check.

And even though Frankie found the meetings disorganized and their Halloween ideas dumb, she wanted to be part of it. They had such a large part of Matthew's heart, and Matthew had them. (26.47)

It's a bummer that Frankie can't be a part of the group that Matthew's involved in. She can't even be considered because she's a girl. But we have to wonder why she wants to be a member of the group in the first place. For a girl who claims to want to take down the old boys' club, she sure wants to be a member of it. Does she want to make them more inclusive, or is it that she really wants to be part of something that's exclusive?

It was difficult to explain. "They won't let me in," Frankie finally said. (27.24)

You're right, it is a bit difficult to explain. Frankie wants to feel included in an exclusive group. Frankly, it's a bit of a paradox. No wonder she's so confused.

They were going through life together—whether the pranks they pulled were dumb or brilliant. She was going through life with no one. (33.23-24)

Ah, the sense of brotherhood. Even though the dogs are kind of ridiculous (we mean, English muffin eating dares?), Frankie still envies what they have. But couldn't she have it without joining the Order? We mean, it's not like she's without friends. She could go find some more and choose to go through life with them.

Frankie felt an incredible sense of happiness as Richmond droned on. She was busy—absorbed for the first time, seriously, in what she was doing. (38.36)

Frankie doesn't derive satisfaction from her love life or her social standing. She derives it from what she is able to achieve. That makes her different from the rest of the kids at Alabaster, who seem totally content with the status quo.

Frankie began to sweat, and found as she threaded her way through the dark that instead of feeling superior and involved, as she had last time she'd rolled up the twine—she felt lonely. (41.7)

Even after all that Frankie's done to try to fit in with Matthew and his friends, no one knows that she's a part of their group. And no one cares about the symbolism she's put into all her pranks. It's all gone unnoticed. So what does that leave us with? Can Frankie be satisfied knowing that her efforts went unacknowledged?

"I didn't want to be left out," she went on. "You and your club. You're so exclusionary, Matthew, it was driving me crazy. That I could be your girlfriend all this time and you'd never tell me, never let me in. Like you thought I wasn't worthy." (43.93)

Even after all she's been through, Frankie has to spell out for Matthew why she's unhappy and why she did what she did. And he still doesn't accept her. Well, what matters here is that she finally spoke her mind, even if it is too late.

But she also hated the boarding school panopticon, the patriarchal establishment, the insular, over privileged life. (44.18)

In a way, Frankie's too big for Alabaster. She's too ambitious and smart and knows that the establishment needs to be challenged. She can't just let things sit.

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