Frindle

by

Andrew Clements

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Frindle: Chapter Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Nick is a junior in college, two important things happen. First, he turns 21 and gains access to the money in the trust fund that Mr. Allen set up. Nick can barely understand how rich he is. He convinces his parents to accept money to travel, and then gives money to his brother James for James's two-year-old-daughter to go to college. Then, Nick buys himself a computer, some games, and a mountain bike, and tries to apply himself to his studies and forget about the rest of the money.
Getting control of the money reminds Nick that the celebrity status he achieved as a kid wasn't a bad thing—now, it gives him the ability to be generous to his family and plan for his future. The fact that he decides to forget about the rest of the money suggests that Mr. Allen's desire to teach Nick to save did happen, and Nick understands the value of not spending it all at once.
Themes
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Second, Nick receives a package from Mrs. Granger one day in November. In the package is an edition of Webster's College Dictionary, a handwritten note on the front of the dictionary, and the envelope that she asked him to sign and date in September of his fifth grade year. The note on the front of the dictionary asks Nick to turn to page 541. On that page he finds an entry for "frindle." The note continues; Mrs. Granger says that she recommends her students use this dictionary and when she begins her lessons on how words are added, she asks them to look up "frindle." She writes that their battle is over now.
Mrs. Granger's admittance that she makes kids look up "frindle" now shows that she truly did support Nick's rebellion, as she wants her current students to understand that rebellion can bring about changes to the language. The word's inclusion in the dictionary also reinforces Mrs. Granger's lessons: once a word becomes popular enough, powerful people decide it can become part of the law of language.
Themes
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Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon
Nick picks up the envelope and pulls out Mrs. Granger's letter. She opens by congratulating him, as if he's reading the letter, it means that "frindle" is in the dictionary. She admits that she was angry at first but realizes now that Nick would've made up a new word no matter what. Mrs. Granger says that what Nick did is actually the kind of thing that every teacher hopes for: the chance to see students test out what they learn in the real world. She says that she chose to play the villain and now, must ask Nick to forgive her. She says that when she began teaching, nobody had landed on the moon and there were no computers. The world is changing all the time and yet, words are still important. This is why she loves the dictionary: it's still relevant and it adapts and changes.
Now that Mrs. Granger doesn't need to fight Nick, she can admit that her understanding of the dictionary is actually different in practice than what she said it was ten years ago. Now that Nick has proven that words can change in real time, she's able to admit that the dictionary is actually a symbol of change. It reflects the world, both as it is today and as it was in the past. This reminds the reader that language is something alive and constantly changing, as language must adapt to describe new ideas and new inventions as they come along.
Themes
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Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Nick thinks back to Mrs. Granger's eyes and understands what some of her looks had meant. She'd purposefully fought "frindle" just so that he'd continue to fight back. Nick also finds a small case in the box. In it is Mrs. Granger's favorite maroon pen with a note tucked under the clip. It reads, "frindle."
Now that Nick understands Mrs. Granger's actions, he understands that she was aware that in order to protest and organize, one needs someone to protest against.
Themes
Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon
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Frindle PDF
On Christmas morning, someone rings Mrs. Granger's doorbell. When she opens the door, there's no one there. She sees a wrapped gift on the step and notices an official-looking Express Mail envelope in her mailbox. After settling herself on the couch, Mrs. Granger opens the envelope first. It's from the school superintendent and it congratulates her: an anonymous former student established a trust fund for college scholarships with a donation of a million dollars, and the student named it "The Lorelai Granger Students' Fund." Mrs. Granger thinks it must be a mistake, but she decides to wait until the next day to call the superintendent and set things straight.
The novel implies that Nick set up the scholarship fund with what was left in the savings trust from "frindle" proceeds. By naming it after Mrs. Granger, Nick thanks her for her role in making "frindle" into a real word. By setting up the fund in the first place, he makes sure that future students will have the resources to learn the lessons that he did and in doing so, be able to stage their own protests and create change.
Themes
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Leadership and Teamwork Theme Icon
Mrs. Granger turns to the gift and opens the note first. It's clearly from a fifth-grade boy and reads that she's his favorite teacher. Though she glares at the spelling mistakes, she chuckles. Then, she starts to unwrap the box, expecting a macaroni or yarn craft. Instead, she finds a blue velvet case with a gold fountain pen inside. Engraved on the pen is a note saying that the object belongs to Mrs. Granger, and she can call it what she wants. It's from Nick Allen.
Again, by referring to the pen as just an object and allowing Mrs. Granger to call it whatever she wants, Nick shows Mrs. Granger that he respects her authority as a teacher and understands her role in the rebellion. Without her, "frindle" wouldn't have ever made it into the dictionary.
Themes
Language Theme Icon
Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon