A Bargain for Frances

Author: Russel Hoban
Plot Summary: Frances begins her day by deciding to play with her friend, Thelma. As she leaves her house, Frances’s mother admonishes her to be careful when playing with Thelma because Frances always seems to get the short end of the stick. When Thelma tricks Frances, Frances decides to get even. Can the friendship survive? Frances and Thelma figure out how to resolve differences and realize that friendship is more important than a bargain.
Posted In: Ethics

Discussion Questions

What is trust?

  • In the book, Thelma tricks Frances.
  • Should Frances trust Thelma?
  • When should people be trusted?
  • How do you decide who to trust?
  • Why do you trust certain people and not others?
  • Do you trust any of the following?
    • Doctors
    • Teachers
    • Firefighters
    • Police officers
    • Strangers
    • People at your parent’s work
    • People your own age
    • Dogs or other animals who you are unfamiliar with

What is fairness?

  • In the book Thelma tricks Frances and then Frances tricks her back. Is this fair?
  • Who decides what is fair?
  • Why is fairness important?
  • Is it ever permissible to get revenge on someone if it is fair?
  • When would it be wrong to retaliate against someone, even if it was fair?

Friendship – At the end of the book, Frances and Thelma decide friendship is more important than tricks or bargains.

  • Why is friendship important?
  • What makes a friend?
  • What qualities do you look for in a friend?
  • What qualities do you have that would make you a good friend?

Contributed by Ruby Dawn Lyman