Study Guide

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By E.L. Konigsburg

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

"I've picked you to accompany me on the greatest adventure of our mutual lives," Claudia repeated. (1.26)

Claudia sure does romanticize things, but in a way, it's because she believes that this is going to be a big and grand adventure. And it's true—those kids end up getting into a lot more than they bargained for.

On Tuesday night Jamie found his list of instructions under his pillow pinned to his pajamas. (2.1)

Talk about getting down to the nitty-gritty of adventure planning. Claudia leaves Jamie a note, and he takes the whole "sneaky and complicated" business to another level when he eats the whole note. Yes. Eats it.

They were better organized that second day. (4.11)

The process of achieving your hopes and dreams isn't an easy one, not even when you're kids with only the vaguest idea of what you want. Nope, you have to be prepared—and learn how to organize.

"Jamie, let's do it now. Let's skip learning about everything in the museum. Let's concentrate on the statue." (4.52)

Phew. It's a good thing for Jamie that the angel statue came along. Otherwise, Claudia would have made them learn everything they could in the museum. And that's a lifetime's worth of art textbooks to get through.

Her determination convinced Jamie that Saturday should be spent just this way. (5.13)

Claudia's so dead-set on achieving these hopes and dreams that she manages to make them Jamie's as well. Even though he would rather watch TV (who wouldn't?), she drags him to the library and soon he feels like this is what they need to do. No Saturday morning cartoons for this kiddo.

"I say, Lady Claudia, I do believe we're safe and onto something really great."

"Perhaps, Sir James, perhaps." (6.44-45)

Part of the fun of dreaming is imagining a different life or persona. Claudia and James obviously take to this with great enthusiasm, christening themselves Lady and Sir and imagining how glamorous (and British, apparently) their lives will be.

"I mean the difference is not enough. Like being born with perfect pitch, or being born very ordinary and then winning the Congressional Medal of Honor or getting an Academy Award. Those are differences that will last a lifetime. Finding out about Angel will be that kind of difference." (6.80)

Claudia's main goal in life is to be different. Venturing into the great unknown (of the Met—not to mention art history) is her way of trying to change herself. Jamie, on the other hand, just wants to have fun.

Her hopes centered more than ever on Box 847 in the post office. […] Claudia was prepared to be the discoverer of great truths. (8.32)

There's nothing wrong with self-confidence, right? Claudia has put all her eggs into this one basket (the basket of great art that is the angel statue) and she's pretty sure that it's going to bring her greatness and fame. It's going to make her different for sure.

"I've been so busy worrying about Michelangelo and avoiding getting caught. If only you'd tell me if the statue was done by Michelangelo. Then I would feel that I could go home again." (9.131)

Claudia is so dead-set on achieving this goal (of finding out whether Michelangelo made a statue) that it's brought her all the way to Mrs. Frankweiler's home. For someone who's so concerned with good manners, she's sure willing to throw them out the window in order to get some answers.

"Nothing is impossible," Claudia said. She sounded to me exactly like a bad actress in a bad play—unreal. (9.253)

Finally achieving her goal makes Claudia an optimist. It also brings out her usual big headedness. We mean, of course she can tell Mrs. Frankweiler what's up in terms of life lessons. After all, she's a twelve-year-old girl and Mrs. Frankweiler is an octogenarian. Totally valid.