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Research Papers on Children's Literature such as From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Paper Masters writes research papers on children's and young adult's literature for Education courses or for Children's literature courses at the college level.

E.L. Konigsburg’s From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler tells the story of Claudia Kincaid and her younger brother Jamie, who run away from home and hide in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Claudia is angry with her parents because she is the oldest and must do more chores than her brothers.  Claudia is fussy, adventurous and responsible.  From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerShe makes sure that she and Jamie, who is an impatient card cheating tightwad.  While hiding in the museum, Claudia and Jamie discovery a mystery surrounding a statue that may or may not have been made by Michelangelo.  Seeking to find the answer, they travel to the home of the woman who donated the statue, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  After learning the truth, they are returned home to their family.

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

I believe that the message that E.L. Konigsburg is trying to relate is that children can solve problems on their own. This is evidenced by the following:

  • Beyond the mystery of the statue, Claudia has planned out how to run away from home. 
  • Claudia and James figure out where to sleep in the museum, how to hide from the guards, and how to make their money last. 
  • I learned that a person can solve a problem by examining it step by step, as Claudia does, and not rushing into things as Jamie sometimes does.

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Written as a Letter

The book is written in the form of a letter from Mrs. Frankweiler to her lawyer, Claudia and Jamie’s grandfather.  It makes you feel as if you are in the museum with Claudia and Jamie, solving such basic problems as how to eat and take a bath.  The children find that they do not miss their family as they are caught up in solving the mystery of the statue.  In the end, they and Mrs. Frankweiler are the only ones to know the truth, when many “experts” are stumped.

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