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Loving Frank Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The following questions are designed to help guide your students through a discussion on the Nancy Horan novel 'Loving Frank', exploring the plot, characters, and themes of the novel.

Loving Frank

Loving Frank is a 2007 novel by American author Nancy Horan about Mamah Borthwick, a woman best remembered in history for her affair with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. These questions are intended for high school students and is designed to help guide a discussion that will encourage students to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about the novel.

Questions about Plot and Characters

  • How are we introduced to Mamah? What are the first things we learn about her? What was your initial impression of her? What gave you that impression?
  • How do Mamah and Wright come into contact? What does each think of the other? How does each represent a chance to deal with what they see as a problem or absence in their lives?
  • What are the challenges that Mamah is facing in her life? How do we get a sense of her frustrations? How does she feel limited by her marriage? How does she feel limited by society? What do you think it would be like to have these restrictions and limitations? Did you connect with or relate to Mamah as a character? Why?
  • Why do you think Mamah makes the decisions she does regarding Frank and her family? How are these explained in the novel? How difficult do you think these decisions were for her?
  • Why do you think she felt that she had to leave her family and give up custody of her children? What does she expect to find in exchange? Does she?
  • How are Mamah and Frank's lives in the USA contrasted by their experiences in Europe? What's similar? What's different? How do these experiences impact both Mamah and Frank?
  • How does Mamah change throughout this novel? How does she grow? What allows for this growth? How would you describe her by the end of the novel?
  • How does Frank change throughout the novel? Has your impression of him changed? Why?
  • Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick were real people, who led real lives. What do you think about making a fictionalized account of their lives? How much research do you think the author conducted? What clues are there about this?

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