"In fact when they emerged from the train at Grand Central into the underworld of cement and steel that leads to the terminal, Claudia felt that having Jamie there was important" (pg. 66)
The New York subway is not something that one exits – it is something that one emerges from. It is also compared to an underworld, and it is characterized by steel and cement. This imagery combines to show a threatening world, one in which two siblings must stick together for safety.
"She didn’t like discomfort; even picnics were untidy and inconvenient: all those insects and the sun melting the icing on the cupcakes" (pg. 5)
Claudia is pondering the possibility of running away, but she does not want to do this in a rough or messy manner. She doesn't even like picnics for the reasons stated in this quote. This example of imagery highlights the two most disgusting parts of outdoor picnics - insects in the food and melting dairy products - inducing a feeling of disgust in the reader and sympathy with Claudia's decision.
"On Wednesday come the gentle old ladies who are using the time before the Broadway matinee begins. They walk around in pairs. You can tell they are a set because they wear matching pairs of orthopedic shoes, the kind that lace on the side. Tourists visit the museum on Wednesdays. You can tell them because the men carry cameras, and the women look as if their feet hurt; they wear high heeled shoes. (I always say that those who wear ’em deserve ’em.) And there are art students. Any day of the week. They also walk around in pairs. You can tell that they are a set because they carry black sketch-notebooks" (pg. 32)
This quotation gives a vivid image of the crowd inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art by describing the people who walk around within it, from gentle old ladies to schoolchildren. By visualizing all of these other guests, the reader is able to picture herself inside the museum.
"A statue of an angel; her arms were folded, and she was looking holy. As Claudia passed by, she thought that that angel was the most beautiful, most graceful little statue she had ever seen; she wanted to stop and stare; she almost did, but the crowd wouldn’t let her" (pg. 52)
Relatively little description is given of the Angel statue itself; much more time is spent describing the reaction of the crowd to the statue. This allows the reader to fill in the gaps of the description, and to imagine the statue in the most magnificent way according to his or her own personal tastes.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Claudia begins the story wanting complete control. She wants to plan the journey, decide what happens next, and she loves power. At the end of the book, she finds that power over others isn't a necessary thing in life; she also finds that she...