Do you think Claudia and Jamie are justified in running away from home? Why or why not?
Claudia and Jamie were justified. They did not get along with their family, and Claudia was unfairly treated by people who clearly should have known better. In a sexist fashion, she was made to do all the housework while her brothers did nothing. This inequality may have extended to other facets of her life. Additionally, her dull life did nothing to stimulate her critical thinking abilities and sense of adventure. Her time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art changed her for the better, which shows that she was justified in deciding to run away.
Do you think Jamie was a good choice of companion for Claudia? Why or why not?
I think that Jamie was a poor choice of companion for Claudia. The two argue frequently, which often causes problems for them on their adventure. Although it is true that he is a helpful companion for financial reasons, they fight so much that they accomplish less than they could have otherwise. I think it would have been more useful for Claudia to have brought along a female friend who knew her better.
Do you think Claudia's family is a regular middle-class suburban family, or are they dysfunctional in some way?
I think that Claudia's family is dysfunctional, but perhaps in a very ordinary way. Claudia is made to do all the household chores simply because she is a girl. Moreover, all of the members of her family are very distant from each other; she did not even really consider Jamie a friend or companion until they ran away together. Claudia's family is characterized by distance rather than closeness and friendship, which shows that they are dysfunctional.
Do you think the discovery of the mark at the bottom of Angel is a convincing piece of evidence that it was carved by Michelangelo? Why or why not?
I do not think this is a convincing piece of evidence that Michelangelo created the statue. If it was so easy for Jamie to find out that it was Michelangelo's artist mark, it is entirely possible that someone else knew this piece of information and added it to the statue in order to make it a more convincing fake. To prove that it is really a creation of Michelangelo, it is essential that they find some kind of documentation that shows he created the statue or the idea.
Claudia demands that she and Jamie go to Mrs. Frankweiler's house because she has a hunch; Jamie comments that she never has hunches and plans everything, but Claudia insists that she does have hunches sometimes. Do you think that this is a change in her personality, or a characteristic that was always there?
I think that this is a mixture of both: this is a discovery of a trait that she has always had, but has not had the chance to express itself. In Claudia's life beforehand, her actions and activities were so scripted and limited that she did not have the opportunity to get into a situation in which she could choose to act on a hunch. Claudia does make some rather impulsive decisions, such as running away rather than working with her parents to try to improve her life - but she accompanies this with solid planning and logic. Even though she does not plan for the trip to Mrs. Frankweiler's, she does have solid logic behind this idea - it may be the only way to find out the truth about Angel.