What is the theme of the book "Frindle"?

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The primary theme of the book Frindle is that words have power.  Nick asks his teacher, Mrs. Granger, who invents words.  He asks who decided that the word "dog" referred to the pet.  Mrs. Granger tells him that she, him, and "'everyone in this class and this school and this...

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town and this state and this country'" are the ones who decide what words mean.  She tells him that people "'decide what goes in that [dictionary].'"

With this information in mind, Nick invents a new word, frindle.  This word describes a pen.  He and his classmates start calling "pens" "frindles," much to the annoyance of their teacher.  The word becomes more and more popular.  Soon all the kids at school are using the word frindle.  Nick becomes famous.  He goes on the radio and television to talk about frindles.  There is frindle merchandise and a licensing deal.  Nick becomes wealthy from frindles.

Nick proves that words have power.  He starts with a simple word, but in the end he becomes a person of influence.  He becomes wealthy and powerful because of one word.

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What is the theme of Frindle?  

One possible theme you might like to consider is how meanings become attached to words. As the events of Frindle remind us, words derive their meaning from how they're used and not through the kind of formal definition one might find in a dictionary.

In the story, "Frindle" comes to mean "pen" because that's how Nick and his friends use the word. They didn't look up the word in a dictionary before beginning to use it. Dictionaries reflect language usage, not the other way round. If you look at a dictionary and compare it with one written a hundred years ago, you'll notice how many new words have since entered the English language. This is because language changes over time, and it changes because we as humans change and we need to find new words to reflect the many different ways that we change.

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What is the theme of Frindle?  

There are several themes in Clements' work.  In my mind, I think that most overwhelming theme is the relationship between language and power.  Nick and Mrs. Granger have a battle which is constructed over the use and application of language.  In the final analysis, the power struggle between both is rooted in the control of language.  When Nick tries to get underneath her skin, Mrs. Granger gives the assignment of examining word roots in the dictionary.  This act reflects her control over language, and in the process, her power over Nick.  Once he invents the word "Frindle," he begins to assert his power over her and the society at large through the control of language.  The idea of being able to control language and assert power through it is a theme of Clements' work.

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