Frindle

by

Andrew Clements

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Frindle: Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Westfield is a very quiet town with little to report on in its weekly paper, The Westfield Gazette. However, when the reporter Judy Morgan hears from a coworker that the kids at Lincoln Elementary are revolting and using some sort of code word, she decides to visit the school and see what's going on. The day after Mrs. Chatham's visit to Mr. and Mrs. Allen, she reports to the office at Lincoln Elementary. She takes a photo of Mrs. Granger's notice about punishing students who use the word "frindle" right outside the office.
By bringing in Judy Morgan and media attention, Frindle continues to expand its scope outside of a school setting. Media attention is often what thrusts protests or demonstrations into the public eye and allows them to spread to other parts of the country or world, so by writing a piece on "frindle," Judy is turning the conflict into a much larger issue.
Themes
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Judy introduces herself to the secretary, Mrs. Freed, and says she'd like to speak to someone about the "frindle" business. Mrs. Freed frowns immediately; she's been fielding calls from angry parents and the school board all week and she's tired of it. However, she shows Judy to Mrs. Chatham's office. Judy realizes immediately that Mrs. Chatham is very uncomfortable talking about the issue. She laughs, tries to play it off as a silly prank, and tells Judy that Mrs. Granger overreacted; the kids are just having fun.
Mrs. Chatham's discomfort suggests that she finds this whole thing unsettling and fears that Nick may actually be able to get the better of the powers that be, especially now that he's attracting media attention. As Judy conducts her interviews, she also raises the public profiles of all of the players, which begins the process of turning Nick into a celebrity for more than just his classmates.
Themes
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Responsibility and Fame Theme Icon
Then, Judy asks if she can speak to Mrs. Granger. Mrs. Chatham gives her permission to do so, though Judy knows that if Mrs. Chatham thought she could keep her from speaking to Mrs. Granger, she would; unfortunately for Mrs. Chatham, the United States has a free press. Mrs. Granger steps into the hallway to speak to Judy. When Judy asks how the battle is going over the word, Mrs. Granger insists that it's not truly a battle; she just thinks there's no reason to invent a word for something when there's already a perfectly good word in use. She insists that the word will fall out of favor in due course, though she does tell Judy that a student named Nicholas Allen started the whole thing.
When the novel notes specifically that the United States has a free press and therefore, Judy has the right to speak to Mrs. Granger and tell her story, it continues its project of drawing parallels between this conflict and how protest works in the real world. It shows that a free press, which is guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution, is an essential factor in facilitating the spread of these stories and the ideas they talk about.
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Related Quotes
After the interview, Judy takes a few minutes to look over her notes. On her way to the parking lot, she runs into a group of kids who have just finished writing their sentences for Mrs. Granger. Judy asks the kids why they insist on using "frindle," even when it means staying after school. The kids explain it's not so bad because their friends are there, and one says that Mrs. Granger doesn't even bother to look at their papers anymore: they're supposed to write, "I am writing this punishment with a pen," but most of them now substitute "frindle" for "pen" every few sentences. Judy asks if there's any possibility of speaking to Nick Allen, and one boy says Nick doesn't want to say anything wrong and get in trouble.
The kids' reasoning for staying after again shows the power and the safety of working in a group. Remember, however, that Mrs. Granger has already decided that she supports "frindle" and is just choosing to play the part of the bad guy; this is likely why she allows the kids to substitute "frindle" for "pen" in the punishment lines, as she recognizes that doing so makes the kids feel as though their rebellion is progressing successfully. 
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Related Quotes
Get the entire Frindle LitChart as a printable PDF.
Frindle PDF
The next morning, Judy receives an envelope with "Frindle Story" written on the front. There's no return address and inside is the fifth grade class picture. She notices that all the kids are holding pens. Someone wrote on the back which kid is Nick. Judy recognizes him as the boy who spoke to her in the parking lot.
The class photo becomes a symbol of the rebellion, especially since it makes it into the hands of the press so sneakily. This will allow readers to put faces with names and will heighten Nick and Mrs. Granger's celebrity.
Themes
Responsibility and Fame Theme Icon
Leadership and Teamwork Theme Icon