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

by E. L. Konigsburg

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Pretend that while Claudia is at Mrs. Frankweiler's house she writes a letter to her parents, explaining to them why she ran away and what she has learned, and asking their forgiveness for the worry she has caused them. What would she say in the letter?

2. Look up the Metropolitan Museum of Art in library books and make a map of Jamie and Claudia's adventures there, using the map that Konigsburg provides as a starting point. This activity can be extended by using a map of Manhattan and tracing their activities through the streets of New York.

3. Jamie and Claudia run away from home, causing their parents to worry; trespass in the museum; and steal coins from the fountain. What, if anything, makes these actions all right? Also, they are never punished for doing these things. Does this demonstrate that the world Konigsburg writes about is different from the real world? How?

4. A rich woman who likes to keep to herself, Mrs. Frankweiler is a secretive person. Why, then, does she agree to see Claudia and Jamie, and what makes her so interested in their adventures?

5. When Claudia returns home, in what way will her life differ from the way it was before she left? How will it be the same? Considering these similarities and differences, was running away worth the trouble?

6. Claudia seems to identify with the statue, Angel. Compare Claudia and Angel and explain why Angel attracts Claudia so strongly.

7. Consider why this story is told the way it is. Why would the author choose to have Mrs. Frankweiler tell the story? Would Claudia have been a better choice? Would Jamie?

8. Assume that a year has passed since the end of the story and that you are a newspaper reporter who has been assigned the task of finding out what has happened to the people involved in this story. You go out to interview Claudia and her family; Morris, the museum guard; Mrs. Frankweiler; Saxonberg; Sheldon, the chauffeur; and anyone else who might know something of value to you. Write your news story.

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