Catch Me If You Can

by Frank Abagnale

Frank Abagnale

Week One
Person A: Baron Kim
Person B: Brian Martin
Person C: Kris Yoo
Person D: Lenny Marshall

We got together for the first time. We all thought that the book was relatively good. We began by eating the bag of chips that Baron brought; he didn't bake anything, just brought 3 vending machine sizes chips. We started off the discussion kind of awkwardly but I feel that the discussion was pretty effective.

On your group's wiki page, describe the main characters in your text. What makes them interesting? What is their story or background? Why are you drawn to them? Conversely, are there any characters that you just cannot stand? Why not?

The main character and author is Frank Abagnale. He is sly, clever, mature, and rebellious. He grew up in a family in which his parents were divorced and was chose to run away from home and live in the real world. He had little to no money when ran away, but soon learned to become wealthy by cashing checks with no balance at hotels and airports. He continued to do this and became more and more wealthy.

Another character, Franks mom, was one of the reasons that we believe Frank turned to criminal acts, because she did not stay together with Frank's dad even after he pleaded multiple times. His parents separateness corrupted Frank in a way. Had Frank grown up in a family with 2 parents, we think that he might have lived a legitimate life.

In the beginning, Frank's dad was a wealthy man. We feel that Frank's dad contributed greatly to Franks criminal career because he gave him the notion that even if he got caught, he wouldn't be seriously punished. Even when Frank committed fraud against his own father by buying and reselling car parts for cash, Franks dad did nothing to punish Frank. As the story progressed, Frank's dad lost his wealth and didn't blame his son for any of it although we feel that Frank did indeed contribute to his father's fall by stealing his father's hard earned money for himself.

This week's questions:

    1. Do you think Frank’s father should have been so easy with him?
      1. Baron: Well, he shouldn’t have been, but I don’t blame him because all he wanted to do is have his son love him and he wanted to be a good dad for his son because of all the marital problems he as having with his mom.
      2. Kris: No. I mean as a father you have to set down the law somewhere or he is going to expect that he’ll never get punished. If his father was more strict, he wouldn’t have been such a criminal.
      3. Brian: He shouldn’t have been so lenient because it gave Frank the mindset that he’ll never get caught. In the book Frank said, “Well since I’m a juvenile it won’t matter that I got caught.” So his father shut have made it clearer.
      4. Lenny: Frank’s father shouldn’t have been so easy with him. Of course, his motives for being so easy on his son was that he wanted him to love him, so I understand how he’d feel that way.
    2. Would Frank have become a criminal if his parents stayed together?
      1. Kris: You can’t really say that he wouldn’t. Of course, families with two parents are more stable. You can’t really tell either way.
      2. Brian: It probably would have helped him if his parents stayed together. He might have been more strictly punished.
      3. Lenny: I think Frank may still have had a criminal life even if his parents stayed together. He found out that it was easy to forge checks, and at that point on, he was hooked. I think he would have learned about how to forge checks whether his parents were together or not.
      4. Baron: Frank was a player to begin with and I think that its mainly because he never saw his parents together. And he probably didn’t like to be trapped with a girl because it would just fail like his parents’ marriage.
    3. What traits did Frank have that made it easier for him to pull off his scams?
      1. Brian: Height because he could act older. He was smart, so he learned quickly and adapted.
      2. Lenny: Frank was very charming. He was mature, sophisticated, and understood where the line was and was careful never to cross it. He was able to maintain control of situations and use his peers to his advantage.
      3. Baron: His ability to forge a check helped. His knowledge with the working world that he gained through meeting his dad’s friends.
      4. Kris: His height because of all the tall airplane pilots. He had a general knowledge about a lot of things. His capacity for memory because he memorized a lot of things. He also looked older than he was. Most important was his ability to remain calm so he wouldn’t give himself away.
    4. Do you think Frank could have gotten away with pretending to be a pilot today?
      1. Frank most definitely could not have gotten away with pretending to be a pilot today. Security in Frank’s era was very naïve. Today, security is pinned down tight, due to the terrorism in the world.
      2. Baron: Definitely not. Back then identity theft was probably less common, so security against fraud is probably higher today.
      3. Kris: Definitely not. During that time, airplane security was all about theft, but today it has a lot to do with terrorism, so its much tighter to get through.
      4. Brian: Definitely not. It even said that plane hijacking things weren’t even the new “vogue” but today security would be on top of him.
    5. Would you have gotten along with Frank when he was 15?
      1. Kris: Yeah. He seemed like the kind of person I would hang out with. He is just a normal kid: fun, adventurous.
      2. Brian: I guess. He seems like a pretty cool cat.
      3. Baron: I probably wouldn’t hang out with him because he puts the ladies before his friends.
      4. Lenny: If Frank and I met, I feel like we’d probably tolerate each other. I wouldn’t hit it off with him, but I’d have nothing against him – unless he conned me.
    6. What do you think of the story overall so far?
      1. Brian: It’s a very good plot line so far. The setting is very good and it is just all around believable. I predict that he will get caught in the end by a cop and the cop asks him about it because he is so amazed.
      2. Baron: Well, I feel that this story keeps my interest because he could get caught at any moment. You don’t know when it will come, but you know he will get caught eventually because he wrote the story. I predict that he will go for a billion dollars but get caught.
      3. The story overall so far is very entertaining the writing style is very easy to relate to, and I’m very interested to see where it goes. With the communication still yet to develop much, I don’t expect Frank will get caught for some time.
      4. Kris: The book is much better than I expected. It’s a faster read than I anticipated. The way he carries out his frauds are very interesting. I predict he is going to get greedy and risk more as he goes for bigger checks and the FBI will get him.

Week 2
Person A: Lenny Marshall
Person B: Baron Kim
Person C: Brian Martin
Person D: Kris Yoo

On your group's wiki page, discuss the type of language that your book contains. Is it easy to read? Conversational? "Classic"? Does it use a lot of words you don't understand? What grade level do you think the book is written at, and why?

This book is easy to read. It is obviously directed to men because of the way he talks about the women he gets with. Not to say that women cant handle the topic its just the way he talks about it. He does defend the stereotype that all stewardess are sex fiends. Frank Abagnale mainly wrote the book is mainly common words that aren't hard to understand, he isn't a smart-ass using big "SAT" words. He just gets to the point. That is what i like about the book, he doesn't dance around a topic trying to impress the reader with his vocabulary. I would relate his writing style to the style of Tucker Max, when he tells a story he tells it straight up. The grade level i would recommend this for is anywhere from 7th grade up. This is based on the fact that he writes so that it is easy to understand, but also the things he writes about are sexual and may not be suitable for all.
After we finished eating out oreos we answered the questions above. Then we discussed about some of the new things that happened in the books. Such as how Frank is no longer just a pilot, he is a doctor, lawyer, and teacher. We talked about how he is becoming even cockier in his craft. But it is true that he is getting better. His ability to obtain knowledge so quickly has aided him in his journey though. Oh, and he graduated from Harvard, and a couple different schools. He has transcripts to prove it. After our little discussion we answered the questions that Kris brought in. You can our answers to them below. Overall the book is getting better, and we seem to be getting better as a group.

This week's questions:

1. Throughout Frank's criminal career, he posed as an airplane pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer, a teacher. Had he not become a criminal, which of the following do you think he would have chosen to become.
a. Lenny: He wouldn’t be a doctor because it said that he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. He was very mature, so most likely, he would become a teacher. He wouldn’t have to do a lot of work plus, he couldn’t have been a pilot because he was afraid of actually flying the plane.
b. Baron: He would become a pilot because he was into that type of field. When he saw the Pam Am pilot, he knew he wanted to be of them. They were respected and honored and people wanted to
c. Brian: He would become a lawyer because he had the criminal mentality so he could use his skills to bring justice.
d. Kris: I think that had he not become a criminal, he would have became a teacher. He said that he always felt nauseous around blood so being a doctor would have been excluded. Frank does not seem like the person to be a lawyer, and he noted that he was afraid of actually flying the plane. He said he loved being around kids and the profession of teacher would, in my opinion, be the one that is most suited for him.
2. Had Frank not become a criminal, how do you think he would have lasted in the real world? What skills/traits did you notice of him that support your opinion?
a. Brian: Well, he learned very quickly.
b. Lenny: He would get find by what ever he does, it’s not like he would fail. He liked the ladies which might have influenced him to slack off a little, but I think he would have done fine.
c. Baron: Well, he could have done well in business because he was good in calculating money, running a business, so I think he would be fine.
d. Kris: Frank was very intelligent. He used his mind to elude cops, steal money, and outsmart pretty much everyone. If he wasn’t a criminal, I think that his intelligence would have helped him survive in the world.
3. What do you think Frank's parents would have said had they found out what he was doing?
a. Baron: His father probably would not have done anything except being disappointed in him. I feel like his father would somewhat blame himself.
b. Lenny: His father would have applauded his efforts. His father would be kind of behind him because he was “crooked” as well. His mom would not have taken any of that crap. She would have been very disappointed and very strict about it even though he was now an adult.
c. Brian: His dad was a really laid back person, so I think he would not have said much. But as most of us agreed, his mom would have been very disappointed in him.
d. Kris: I agree with our group. His dad was an almost careless parent, and although Frank stole and cheated in his childhood, his father did nothing. I that even now, if Frank were caught, his father would not have really cared. His mom on the other had would have punished him.
4. What do you think you would have done if you were Frank and you knew that the cops were looking for you en masses?
a. Lenny: When ever he considered himself being targeted, he laid low. He stopped conning and forging checks and would move around. He then would pick up the cons somewhere around the world. It worked, so I think I would have done that.
b. Baron: I would constantly change my identity and location.
c. Brian: I would have cashed out big. Then I would have tried to live a normal life, and wouldn’t con again.
d. Kris: I would have done the same thing that Frank did. I would lay low for a period of time for the search to cool down, then would start up again once I thought they were off my back. In the mean time, I think that I would try and live a quiet life with a friend or relative.
5. Why do you think he was motivated to move into different fields of conning?
a. Lenny: He was very full of himself and he wanted the challenge. He was getting bored with flying all the time and even times, he might have had an interest in the different fields.
b. Baron: He was getting cocky and confident so he wanted a new challenge.
c. Brian: I feel that he was the perfect con man. Once he told a lie, he felt motivated to play the role and that’s how he ended up in different conning fields.
d. Kris: Frank was a very “diversely-interested” type of guy. He liked the challenge of learning a completely new field that he was in. By changing his types of cons, he would challenge himself which I think was the primary motivation.

Week 3

1. On your group's wiki page, discuss the mood or tone of your book.What is the overriding emotion of this book? What examples back up your claim? (B)
2. Person D should share his/her questions with the group, as well as post the questions on the group's wiki page.
3. Person C should post the meeting summary on the group's wiki page after class.

The book seems carefree because Frank seems on top of the world. Also, its seems humorous at times when his life is displayed in a comical way when he deceives bank tellers.

Frank is constantly toying with women, and indulging in his life. He buys expensive things and enjoys his fame as a pilot. He also plays by his own rules.

1. Why do you think that Frank was feeling pressured even though he hasn't bounced a check in 2 years?

  • Len: Frank is more worried when he stays put for long periods of time. Even when he isn't committing crimes, he feels that someone is always after him.
  • Kris: By being in one place at a time, he is more opt to being caught. He feels safer moving around to take his mind off of the FBI trying to capture him.
  • Brian: He can't concentrate on living a crime free life because hes worried about getting caught.
  • Baron: Frank is fearing that an FBI agent will cut his crime spree short.

2. Why is the heat worse now?
  • Len: Yes, he is becoming notorious in more and more areas.
  • Kris: Hes committed so many crimes that he is wanted everywhere and the government is probably offering reward to catch him.
  • Brian: Yes, because he is committing worse crimes for more money.
  • Baron: His actions will constantly be under surveillance and it will be tough to make a move.

3. Do you think hes going to get caught soon?
  • Len: Yes, the book is nearing its end and his crimes are starting to reach a greater magnitude.
  • Kris: He is going to get caught soon because all good things must come to an end.
  • Brian: His crimes are becoming more sloppy and is starting to realize the imminent consequences for his actions.
  • Baron: Definitely. Sooner or later he will make a mistake and get caught and thrown in jail.
4. Should Frank try and give up his obsession with girls to extend his "career"?
  • Len: he's already squared away with his career and he could do whatever he wants.
  • Kris: he can do whatever he wants hes got the money to supply him so he can just do whatever?
  • Brian: i think that he could just stop obsession with girls for a while build up his funds then go back to be a ladies man and not have to be a criminal anymore.
  • Baron: he's enjoying himself, hes going to get caught anyway so just enjoy it.
5. Do you think it was right of Rosalie to call the cops on him?
  • Len: no because he trusted her, and she loved him so she shouldn't have let his past get in the way.
  • Kris: it was the right thing, even though they were in a relationship, he was a criminal and justice has to be served.
  • Brian: i think that the since they were in love she should have just accepted him.
  • Baron: no, not at all, it was very hard for Frank to tell her and she stabbed him in the back.

Week 4
Person A: Brian
Person B: Baron
Person C: Lenny
Person D: Kris

When the class began, Brian pulled out a giant tray of brownies. However, he forgot a knife, so Kris ran to the cafeteria to get one. Brian believes that some of the themes include girls and conning. Conning is a theme because its all he ever does. The girls are a theme because he spends all of his money on them. Baron said some themes are sexuality, and duplicity. Duplicity is deceitfulness and obviously this whole book is about how he tricks people to get money. Kris believes that another theme is trust because Frank has to know who he can trust. Responsibility is another theme because in a lot of his cons he pretends to have responsibilities.

One of the images is Rosalie. She represented love and trust. Frank trusted her but he should have been more careful, because when he came clean with her she called the police. The entire book is another image because it is a memoir of the time he spent double-crossing people for money. Brian believes that the need for money could link to his father. Everything started going downhill when his father started losing money, so the money that he craves could link to the craving for a better life or a happy childhood. Of course, none of these symbols are used on purpose by Frank Abagnale. This is a memoir, so the author did not purposely use images to convey a meaning. There was, essentially, no reason for him to say things other than to tell the story of how he fooled the government and banks of several nations in his young adulthood.

1. How do you think Frank felt when he got thrown in jail in France?
Len: He could not believe it. He was in a horrible situation and solitary confinement so he hated it.
Kris: At first, he wasn't expecting it to be that bad since he experienced the Boston prison. He later felt like crap because he didn't get fed and there was no toilet, so he was in extremely bad conditions.
Brian: He felt scared, because he didn't know what was going to happen to him and what the future had in store for him.
Baron: I also think he was scared, because he was used to being on top of the world, yet he was experiencing an all time low.

2. And in contrast, how did he feel when he was transferred to Sweden?
Len: He would still rather be free, but he was very grateful that he was freed from his horrible experience in France.
Kris: It was not as great as being free, but he was still happy. He said it was like being trapped in a hotel room because the food was great and the conditions were much cleaner.
Brian: He felt relieved because he was used to terrible conditions. He was glad the new prison took a turn for the better and he was satisfied.
Baron: He was feeling great about his transfer because he was dying to escape from France.

3. Do you think Frank was reluctant about his break up with Moanique?
Len: Well, no. He has been with a bunch of girls and he was just using Moanique.
Kris: He's been with so many girls, he doesn't really mind a breakup.
Brian: Well, he gets with so many girls, so one girl probably doesn't matter that much to him.
Baron: I actually think that he had something with Moanique because he described her as "perfect Rosalie" without the flaws that she had.

4. What do you think the worst part of the prison in France was?
Len: The cell had no running water or a drain, he only had a bucket, which was disgusting.
Kris: The worst part was that there was no light and he was going crazy because he was in darkness for 6 months.
Brian: Frank was naked in his cell and it was extremely dirty because he crapped in the cell.
Baron: I think the worst part is that the cell was 5 feet by 5 feet and Frank was over 6 feet tall. He must have been uncomfortable slouching in the cell for 6 months.

5. What are your predictions for the end of the book?
Len: I believe Frank is going to get caught in a high speed chase by the FBI and get killed in an accident.
Kris: Well my prediction is that Frank will escape and live in a remote place like New Zealand, and finally settle down with a true love.
Brian: I think it would be really cool if Frank went to an Asian or African country and tried his hand with conning there.
Baron: I think Frank will get caught and will be thrown in jail and end up regretting his life.

Week 5
Person A: Kris
Person B: Brian
Person C: Baron
Person D: Lenny

Alright, we got together for the last week. We finished the book and overall, all of us really enjoyed it. It was a fun, humorous,and comical while at the same time informing readers of different techniques that was used in check swindling. Baron also brought in subway which was awesome, we love subway.
1. On your group's wiki page, discuss your final reflections on this book. Would you recommend it to peers? Why or why not? Has this topic been discussed more/less effectively in another book or books? Should this book be considered for the school's curriculum?

Lenny: Yeah, I think that I would. It's a realistic adventure story and it's never really boring. Stuff is always happening. It's not really a book that I would recommend to the school curriculum. It's a fun read but it's too easy and "immature".
Baron: No, I would not because it might inspire then to become criminals. No, I also would not recommend it to be part of a school curriculum because it's not really educational and there's not a lot to learn. The there is still a good story line though...
Brian: Yeah, I guess i would recommend it. It has a good plot and it's just overall interesting. Yeah, I guess i would recommend it to the school curriculum because it's a good real.
Kris: I thought this book was very good. After I began reading the book, it really picked up its pace and I finished it really quickly. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it would not be a book which I would recommend to a school's curriculum. It's too easy a read and there's not really much to learn from it. It's strictly only a book one would read for a leisure read.

I. Do you believe Frank has changed?
a. Baron: Yes, he went through ups and downs and as it went on he started to realize the values of his life.
b. Brian: He obviously has changed as he went from one side of crime to the other.
c. Kris: He turned over a new leaf and went from a really bad criminal who steals money from other people to becoming an FBI agent who prevents innocent citizens from getting their money stolen.
d. Lenny: I’m goung to play Devil’s advocate. I think he still might be the same but just has no ability anymore to steal and his only alternative was FBI or else jail.
II. Do you believe Frank truly regrets his criminal actions? Why or why not?
a. Baron: No. He started his criminal actions because his dad got cheated. So he was taking a stab back at society. Without these actions he wouldn’t have been shaped into what he is today.
b. Brian: I don’t think so. He just beat the system and now he is done and glad that he got away.
c. Kris: Up to an extent yes. He was using the different techniques and education to help the FBI now though, so he can feel okay about it.
d. Lenny: He doesn’t regret it at all because these were the best 5 years of his life.
III. Is the U.S.’s prison system more like the Swedish or the French system?
a. Baron: It is more like the Swedish system because commissions tend to be pretty nice. Cable, food, exercise, basketball courts. You are isolated, but it is definitely better than living on the streets.
b. Brian: Its’ definitely more like Swedish because you still have rights.
c. Kris: Definitely more like French. We always here the conspiracies of torture techniques and some jails don’t work the way we think they do.
d. Lenny: I think it has the best of both systems because it has the discipline of the French side, but the opportunities of the Swedish side.
IV. Is the Swedish prison system or French prison system more effective as a whole?
a. Baron: I think that the Swedish system is more effective because the French system just terrorizes citizens, while the Swedish system prevents them from attacking the outside world.
b. Brian: It depends how you are viewing it. It may be more effective to go to French because people who get out wouldn’t want to go back no matter what.
c. Kris: French is definitely more effective. The best way to get people to listen is by scaring them or making them so desperate. This has been proven in different interrogations that when people are hurt, they start to talk.
d. Lenny: I think the Swedish system is more effective because it helps people turn their lives around and offers them ways to make something of themselves after their sentence.
V. If Frank never got involved in a criminal career what do you think he would have done with his life?
a. Baron: He’d have been a great entrepreneur because he was good at manipulating people, work the system, play his cards and handle his money.
b. Brian: He’d become a high roller gambler. He’d probably learn how to cheat the system gambling and count cards.
c. Kris: If Frank wasn’t a criminal he probably would have lived a legitimate life either teaching or practicing law.
d. Lenny: It’s hard to say where he would go with his life if he wasn’t on a criminal path. I think in the end he may have become a pilot, just because as soon as he was shown the life of flying, he was immediately attracted to life in the air.