Frindle

by

Andrew Clements

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Mrs. Granger Character Analysis

Mrs. Granger, Nick’s teacher, is the only fifth grade language arts teacher at Lincoln Elementary. She's a small older woman who only wears skirt suits, and she can "turn on" her eyes in such a way as to make students shrink. Mrs. Granger is known for assigning lots of homework and requires all her students to have a copy of her preferred dictionary so they can properly complete their homework. Rather than play along and allow Nick to sidetrack her, Mrs. Granger assigns Nick more homework so he can answer his questions about the dictionary for himself. This begins a battle of wills between the two as Nick tries to distract Mrs. Granger. However, Mrs. Granger only takes offense to the fact that Nick is trying to disrupt class; she's happy to talk about the dictionary, how words make it into the dictionary, and the rules governing the English language and how it changes. When Nick comes up with the idea to rename pens "frindles," Mrs. Granger is at first annoyed and angry. She reprimands Nick several times and keeps as many as 200 students for detention as punishment for using "frindle" instead of "pen." After a few weeks, Mrs. Granger writes Nick a letter that she promises to give to him after their battle concludes. At the end of the year, she compliments Nick on how he handled things and encourages him to continue coming up with big ideas and putting them into action. Ten years later, she sends Nick a copy of the first dictionary to include "frindle" and the letter she wrote. In it, she admits that she chose to play the villain so that Nick would keep fighting, and she says that Nick's invention is proof of how language grows and changes over time.

Mrs. Granger Quotes in Frindle

The Frindle quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Granger or refer to Mrs. Granger. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Language Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Frindle published in 1996.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Don't even think about chewing a piece of gum within fifty feet of her. If you did, Mrs. Granger would see you and catch you and make you stick the gum onto a bright yellow index card. Then, she would safety-pin the card to the front of your shirt and make you wear it for the rest of the school day.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger
Page Number: 7-8
Explanation and Analysis:

But her pride and joy was one of those huge dictionaries with every word in the universe in it, the kind of book it takes two kids to carry. It sat on its own little table at the front of her classroom, sort of like the altar at the front of a church.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger
Related Symbols: The Dictionary
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Nick was an expert at asking the delaying question—also known as the teacher-stopper, or the guaranteed time-waster. At three minutes before the bell, in that split second between the end of today's class work and the announcement of tomorrow's homework, Nick could launch a question guaranteed to sidetrack the teacher long enough to delay or even wipe out the homework assignment.

Related Characters: Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

"But if all of us in this room decided to call that creature something else, and if everyone else did, too, then that's what it would be called, and one day it would be written in the dictionary that way. We decide what goes in that book." And she pointed at the giant dictionary.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger (speaker), Nick Allen
Related Symbols: The Dictionary
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Then when Nick went to preschool, he learned that if he wanted his teacher and the other kids to understand him, he had to use the word music. But gwagala meant that nice sound to Nick, because Nick said so. Who says gwagala means music? "You do, Nicholas."

Page Number: 34-35
Explanation and Analysis:

And when she asked, the lady reached right for the pens and said, "Blue or black?"

Nick was standing one aisle away at the candy racks, and he was grinning.

Frindle was a real world. It meant pen. Who says frindle means pen? "You do, Nicholas."

Related Characters: Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger, Janet Fisk
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

But that just made everyone want to use Nick's new word even more. Staying after school with The Lone Granger became a badge of honor. There were kids in her classroom every day after school. It went on like that for a couple of weeks.

Related Characters: Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

"I don't think there's anything wrong with it. It's just fun, and it really is a real word. It's not a bad word, just different. And besides, it's how words really change, isn't it? That's what you said."

Related Characters: Nick Allen (speaker), Mrs. Granger
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

"The word pen has a long, rich history. It comes from the Latin word for feather, pinna. It started to become our word pen because quills made from feathers were some of the first writing tools ever made. It's a word that comes from somewhere. It makes sense, Nicholas."

“But frindle makes just as much sense to me,” said Nick. “And after all, didn’t somebody just make up the word pinna, too?”

That got a spark from Mrs. Granger’s eyes …

Related Characters: Nick Allen (speaker), Mrs. Granger (speaker)
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:

And the next day, all the fifth graders did it again, and so did a lot of other students—over two hundred kids.

Parents called to complain. The school bus drivers threatened to go on strike. And then the school board and the superintendent got involved.

Related Characters: Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger, Mrs. Chatham
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

What could she say, though? Mrs. Chatham couldn't very well keep the reporter away from Mrs. Granger because, after all, America is a free country with a free press.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger, Mrs. Chatham, Judy Morgan
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

A boy who was almost falling over from the weight of his backpack looked up at her and smiled. "It's not so bad. There's always a bunch of my friends there. I've written that sentence six hundred times now."

Related Characters: Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger, Judy Morgan
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Or this bit about Nick: "Everyone agrees that Nick Allen masterminded this plot that cleverly raises issues about free speech and academic rules. He is the boy who invented the new word."

Related Characters: Judy Morgan (speaker), Nick Allen, Mrs. Granger
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

"I have always said that the dictionary is the finest tool ever made for educating young minds, and I still say that. Children need to understand that there are rules about words and language, and that those rules have a history that makes sense. And to pretend that a perfectly good English word can be replaced by a silly made-up word just for the fun of it, well, it's not something I was ready to stand by and watch without a fight."

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger (speaker), Nick Allen, Alice Lunderson
Related Symbols: The Dictionary
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

"Well," said Nick, "The funny thing is, even though I invented it, it's not my word anymore. Frindle belongs to everyone now, and I guess everyone will figure out what happens together."

Related Characters: Nick Allen (speaker), Mrs. Granger, Mrs. Allen, Mr. Allen, Alice Lunderson
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Quotes

I see now that this is the kind of chance that a teacher hopes for and dreams about—a chance to see bright young students take an idea they have learned in a boring old classroom and put it to a real test in their own world.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger (speaker), Nick Allen
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

So many things have gone out of date. But after all these years, words are still important. Words are still needed by everyone. Words are used to think with, to write with, to dream with, to hope and pray with. And that is why I love the dictionary. It endures. It works. And as you now know, it also changes and grows.

Related Characters: Mrs. Granger (speaker), Nick Allen
Related Symbols: The Dictionary
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Frindle LitChart as a printable PDF.
Frindle PDF

Mrs. Granger Character Timeline in Frindle

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Granger appears in Frindle. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Mrs. Granger
Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon
...recess in the morning and they have to actually pass their classes. They also get Mrs. Granger , the only language arts teacher at Lincoln Elementary. She's an older lady who has... (full context)
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The students believe that Mrs. Granger has X-ray vision, as she seems to know immediately whenever someone is chewing gum. If... (full context)
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Though all of this makes Mrs. Granger terrifying, she's known best for her homework and her love of the dictionary. She's known... (full context)
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In August, before fifth grade begins, Nick's parents get a letter from Mrs. Granger . It reads that every student is expected to have access to one of her... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Question
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...by smoothly. He meets his teachers and chats with his friends. When he gets to Mrs. Granger 's seventh period language arts class, however, the teacher is all business. She gives them... (full context)
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Nick raises his hand and asks Mrs. Granger where all the words in the dictionaries come from. His classmates smile; they know what... (full context)
Chapter 4: Word Detective
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As Nick stares down his report and the list of 35 vocabulary words that Mrs. Granger assigned, he pouts about having to do homework on such a beautiful day. Mr. Allen... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Report
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...by lunch the next day. He knows he'll have to stand up in front of Mrs. Granger , and he knows she'll have her eyes turned up all the way. Nick anxiously... (full context)
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...when Nick says that his dictionary had more than 43,000 words in it. Nick expects Mrs. Granger to look disapproving, but she looks almost friendly and encourages him on. Nick goes on... (full context)
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...there's a lot of information in the front of it about how dictionaries are made. Mrs. Granger interrupts and insists that the class can read it at home, but when several kids... (full context)
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Finally, Mrs. Granger cuts Nick off. She compliments him on his report and says that the information will... (full context)
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With a smile, Mrs. Granger says that despite the fact that language can change, the dictionary is the law and... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Big Idea
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...pen. As the two continue along the curb, Nick thinks about his report and what Mrs. Granger said about words. (full context)
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Nick thinks of Mrs. Granger saying that he says that words mean what they do. He remembers that as a... (full context)
Chapter 7: Word Wars
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...day, right as the bell starting seventh period rings, Nick raises his hand and informs Mrs. Granger that he forgot his frindle. One of Nick's friends makes a big show of digging... (full context)
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Mrs. Granger holds up her favorite maroon pen and explains that she's talking about pens. Nick makes... (full context)
Chapter 8: Mightier than the Sword
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...the photographer can take of the class, as he's out of film for his camera. Mrs. Granger is furious. (full context)
Power, Hierarchy, and Rules Theme Icon
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...Nick's new word, which they all like a lot. The day after the school photo, Mrs. Granger posts a notice on the bulletin board saying that any student who uses "frindle" instead... (full context)
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Finally, at the end of seventh period one day, Mrs. Granger asks Nick to talk for a moment. Nick feels like a general participating in a... (full context)
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...oath to only use "frindle," and says again that there's nothing wrong with the word. Mrs. Granger seems unsurprised by Nick's answer. She pulls an envelope out of her desk and explains... (full context)
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...next day, one of Nick's friends suggests that they get every fifth grader to ask Mrs. Granger directly for a frindle. Nick reasons that it's a great idea, since she can't possibly... (full context)
Chapter 9: Chess
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...in. Mrs. Chatham tells her version of events: Nick encouraged other kids to use "frindle," Mrs. Granger forbade it, the word ruined the class photo, and now, everyone feels that kids aren't... (full context)
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...a funny word and using it. Nick is ecstatic that his mom is annoyed with Mrs. Granger , not with him, but Mrs. Chatham says that it's a matter of standards. She... (full context)
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...it. This stumps the adults. Mrs. Chatham tries to backpedal, but Mrs. Allen insists that Mrs. Granger is overreacting to a "harmless little experiment with language." She asks Mr. Allen if he... (full context)
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Nick begins to think of the whole thing as a chess game. Mrs. Chatham is Mrs. Granger 's queen, while Mrs. Allen is Nick's queen. Nick knows that the war will go... (full context)
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...didn't intend to be disrespectful, but all the kids like to use his word and Mrs. Granger made it even more fun to use by punishing them for saying it. Mr. Allen... (full context)
Chapter 10: Freedom of the Press
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...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. (full context)
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...She laughs, tries to play it off as a silly prank, and tells Judy that Mrs. Granger overreacted; the kids are just having fun. (full context)
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Then, Judy asks if she can speak to Mrs. Granger . Mrs. Chatham gives her permission to do so, though Judy knows that if Mrs.... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 11: Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
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...town. She writes that Nick is raising issues of free speech and academic rules, while Mrs. Granger is the champion of order and authority. The class photo accompanies the article, with a... (full context)
Chapter 12: Airwaves
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On Wednesday afternoon, Alice interviews Mrs. Granger . Mrs. Granger insists that the dictionary is a fine tool for educating youngsters and... (full context)
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...to answer any questions for him. Nervously, Nick tells Alice how he made up "frindle": Mrs. Granger told him that all words are made up by people, and he wanted to see... (full context)
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Mrs. Allen steps on Nick's foot when Alice asks if Nick was surprised when Mrs. Granger reacted with anger to the new word. Mrs. Allen says that it did create a... (full context)
Chapter 13: Ripples
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Mrs. Granger seems to have given up or forgotten for the most part, though she puts the... (full context)
Chapter 14: Inside Nick
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...Allen notices Nick looking sad and down, but he tells her that everything is fine. Mrs. Granger notices the change in Nick too. She thinks that Nick is now quiet, careful, and... (full context)
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Near the end of the school year, Nick remembers the letter that Mrs. Granger wrote. He figures that she forgot about it since she never gave it to him,... (full context)
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Mrs. Granger approaches Nick. They're almost the same height, and Nick notices that her eyes are soft... (full context)
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Because of Mrs. Granger 's talk, Nick is able to find pride in what he did with "frindle." He... (full context)
Chapter 15: And the Winner Is...
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Nick thinks back to Mrs. Granger 's eyes and understands what some of her looks had meant. She'd purposefully fought "frindle"... (full context)
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On Christmas morning, someone rings Mrs. Granger 's doorbell. When she opens the door, there's no one there. She sees a wrapped... (full context)
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Mrs. Granger turns to the gift and opens the note first. It's clearly from a fifth-grade boy... (full context)