After almost getting caught pretending to be a co-pilot, Frank moves to Atlanta, where he rents an apartment, changing his occupation to a doctor. When a real doctor moves in next door, Frank is offered a part-time residents job at a local hospital as a supervisor of the nurses and interns.Working the overnight shift, Frank plays the role of a lazy and chill doctor, and the interns and nurses love him because he gives them more freedom than their other supervisors, and makes them do all the work.
A near death incident involving a patient scared him when he realized that playing the role of doctor had reached its limits. He knew that his actions could have severe consequences, so he quits his job and moves to another city to stay with a stewardess he knows. When he mentions to her that he studied law before becoming a pilot, she introduces him to an assistant at the state’s attorney’s office who offers him a job.
Frank forges a Harvard law degree and passes the bar exam after three attempts, improving his score every time by studying his missed answers. While working as an aide to a senior assistant, he meets a real Harvard lawyer who becomes suspicious of him.The fear of being discovered again hit and Abagnale moves away and heads to Utah, where he becomes a summer sociology instructor, forging a PhD in sociology from Columbia. He teaches classes by simply reading one chapter ahead of his students and even builds discussions around his real-life criminal experiences.
He fox who keeps to one den is the easiest caught by the terriers, and I felt I had nested too long in one place. I knew I was still being hunted and I didn’t want to make it easy for the hounds.(Abagnale,98)
As the book develops, Frank begins to realize that he is a hunted man. He knows that ultimately, his actions could have direct consequences that could easily catch up with him if he ever lets his guard down. Through a mix of fortune The employee records are in New York and the Pan Am offices are closed over the weekend.(Abagnale,73), poor investigating (The sheriff’s office had committed a faux pas in bobbling the source of the inquiry, and the FBI agent was apparently compounding the error by ignoring the FAA as a source of information.(Abagnale,74) and bluffing ( ‘Hey, don’t worry about it. I understand, and I’m glad you guys are doing your job. I wouldn’t want anyone flying around masquerading as a pilot, either.(Abagnale,75), Frank manages to escape his first brush with the FBI. Frank sees himself as a fox, sly, cunning and scheming and sees the FBI and federal agents as terriers, out hunting for him and looking to ultimately bring him to justice.
Analyze how author’s employ point of view, perspective, and purpose to shape explicit and implicit messages (e.g., examine rhetorical strategies, literary elements and devices).Throughout the book, Frank Abagnale views his behavior and criminal activities as being simply a kind of play or movie, in which he is an independent actor, writing, producing and directing (Abagnale,128). In the book’s opening chapter, he even says that if has was ever caught, he knows he wasn’t going to win any Oscars (Abagnale,5). This perspective makes the reader view Abagnale as an actor playing the roles of a co-pilot, doctor, lawyer, and professor, and not as a criminal, and is conveyed by Abagnale throughout the entire book.
In order to successfully perform these different roles, Abagnale researches professional texts and takes notes of any industry-specific language whenever he hears it used, almost like a movie script. He even keeps a notebook filled with terms, expressions and contact names that help make his disguises more convincing. It was a combination log, textbook, little black book, diary and airline bible, and the longer I operated, the thicker it became with entries.(Abagnale,63) Abagnale tries to ensure that his interactions with bank clerks, hotel managers, airline employees, and other professionals always flow as smoothly as possible, knowing that if everyone’s role is played correctly, then people won’t suspect that something was not right. In situations where people don’t act in the way they should, they are more likely to blame themselves rather than the person who has kept to the script.
He feels that people are so absorbed by their own professional roles and anxious about doing the right thing that they assume that they are in the wrong when something unusual happens. This is very evident when the police first speak to Frank and he notices, the deputies were clearly uncomfortable, and I had a hunch this was an affair in which they weren’t really sure of their role. (Abagnale, 71).
Determine one or more themes or central ideas in a text and analyze its development, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details.One of the major themes conveyed in Catch Me If You Can is that money is important and can buy or bring power and the finer things in life. As a lawyer, Frank deliberately gave the impression that I was from a wealthy New York family without making any such direct claim. I lived in a swank apartment overlooking a lake, drove a leased Jaguar and accumulated a wardrobe worthy of a British duke. (Abagnale,105).
This materialism is tremendously important to Abagnale throughout the story and it feeds into the different roles that he is playing. Abagnale has an extremely strong opinion of himself, and his view of how he looks, his image, and how he is perceived by others is a theme that is represented multiple times throughout the text. Early in the book, Frank stated that I felt great in my Pan Am pilot’s uniform as I walked into La Guardia Airport. I obviously was commanding respect and esteem. Men looked at me admiringly or enviously. Pretty women and girls smiled at me. Airport policemen nodded courteously. Pilots and stewardesses smiled, spoke to me or lifted a hand in greeting as they passed.(Abagnale,45).
Abagnale understood that his image was very important in how he was perceived by others. As a lawyer, he was even told by a judge you may not contribute much in the way of legal expertise to the proceedings before this court, but you certainly add style, sir. (Abagnale,106). Additionally, he pampers himself with tailor made suits and fancy cars in order to impress his peers. I spent it freely on the friends I made on the AG’s staff, treating them to dinners in fine restaurants, riverboat outings and evenings in posh night clubs. (Abagnale,105). As Franks he states in the opening of the book, A man’s alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself. (Abagnale, 1). This is central to the development of the theme that Frank’s image is everything to him.
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