From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

by E. L. Konigsburg

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Student Question

When did Jamie forget the rule of being "inconspicuous"?

Quick answer:

Jamie learns to be inconspicuous. *

Expert Answers

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In the novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia and Jamie run away from home to hide out in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To avoid being seen, Claudia tells her brother, Jamie, that they must be "inconspicuous."

Jamie doesn't know what that word means, so he asks. Claudia tells him it means "Un-noticeable."

But Jamie has a hard time remembering to be "inconspicuous." There's one instance, in chapter four, that Jamie forgets this rule and nearly ruins the entire adventure. He sees a newspaper cameraman taking photos at the museum, and he tries to get in one of the photos.

Luckily, Claudia, shoves him out of the way before he can get his picture taken. She recognizes that the photographer works for a newspaper that many people in her town read. If Jamie's picture winds up in the paper, someone will see it, and their "hideaway" will be revealed.

"Wouldn't her brother ever learn to be inconspicuous?" Claudia thinks.

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