The Borrowers

He seems unconsciously unwilling to accept that she is growing up. This attitude would explain why he does not tell her of the boy’s existence and is horrified when he sees the two talking together. He remarks about the unpredictability of the boys, yet he may also fear letting her meet a member of the opposite sex who could introduce her to a The Borrowers world that would free her from his conservative, paternalistic care and control. “here does freedom take you?” , he asks early in the novel. His literal warning to Arrietty about her candle, “Careful of the light!” , may symbolize his wariness of new ideas. He had been a daring Borrower in his youth, but now considers that behavior foolish.

  • This is, in essence, the exchange that confirmed the plebeian-patrician bond in conservative historical accounts of preindustrial British society.
  • The other books show the Borrowers largely in danger from the greed of, first, Mild Eye, the gypsy, and then, the bourgeois Platters; in their depiction of the latter couple, the last two books come close to turning into social satires of a type perhaps more appealing to adults than to children.
  • A scientist tries to capture members of a miniature family who live beneath the floorboards of a house.
  • He retrieves the precious document and goes to City Hall to foreclose on the house, but the Borrowers and thousands of their friends meet him in the movie’s climax in the City Hall supply room.
  • The primary cause of trouble and source of plot is the interaction between the minuscule Borrowers and the “human beans”, whether the human motives are kind or selfish.

The texts of the next two books are no longer chiefly concerned with a storytelling frame as either a rhetorical device for authentication or as a self-reflexive technique. The boy is also one of the three people who tell the story, and as such is part of the link in which point of view moves steadily from actual seeing of the Borrowers to imaginative insight. He is the appropriate link between the Clock family and his sisters, and through them, to Kate, for he not only views but understands. Mrs. May and Kate never see the Clocks, but do achieve strong imaginative insight. Perhaps the old woman’s greatest achievement is her transmission of her imaginative sympathy and insight to Kate. Yet she never forces Kate to accept what she says, giving detail tentatively and, even at the end, casting some uncertainty over the story.

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It is as if she feels that the girl must come to a belief and faith based on her own understanding, her own insight. In Kate, she finds a receptive audience, the young girl liking the twilight sadness of the breakfast room and intuitively understanding, almost from the beginning, the details of‘ lives. By the end of the novel, Kate, who has never literally sighted a Borrower, has perhaps as complete a comprehension of Pod, Homily, and Arrietty as anyone else in the novel. Before turning to that development, however, one might take a glance back at the question of storytelling itself and find further parallels between frame and central story.

Whether or not the experience is perceived in quite these biblical terms, Arrietty has had a nonsexual awakening, a permanent loss of ethnocentric innocence, one that prepares her to see what she and other people really are, instead of what she has been told they are. Nonetheless, her attempt to reestablish her mastery is thwarted. Crampfurl doubts her sighting; Ernie Runacre, the young policeman she had tried to control years before, smirks at her; and Great-Aunt Sophy believes she has been drinking.

Shelve The Borrowers

The middle ground on which she stands seems finally to belong to that of a good storyteller, one versed in the art of the open question. Unlike Nellie Dean’s, her attitude here is made to seem not just reasonable, but imaginative. Appropriately, the direct narration begins with Arrietty and Homily waiting, deep within the dim and safe apartments, for the return of Pod from a borrowing expedition in search of a cup to replace a broken one Homily had particularly liked. Arrietty is confident in her father’s ability and safe return and reveals her own adventurous spirit by announcing, “I could climb a curtain.” Homily is filled with self-recrimination and is horrified by her daughter’s remark. However, her statement about why she sent Pod after a cup—”But it’s once you’ve had a tea cup. If you see what I mean…. ” —is revealing. She is concerned as much with appearances as she is with being discovered and this concern will help to lead to the family’s final undoing. The Borrowers’ colloquialisms reflect the importance of seeing and being seen in their lives.

The Borrowers

When Pod relates his first meeting with the Boy, the first time he was seen, “Homily stared at him in silence.” (30—italics mine) And as Arrietty lies quietly in her darkened room, she hears her parents talk about the consequences of being seen. The four-inch-tall Clock family secretly share a house with the normal-sized Lender family, “borrowing” such items as thread, safety pins, batteries and scraps of food. However, their peaceful co-existence is disturbed when evil lawyer Ocious P. Potter steals the will granting title to the house, which he plans to demolish in order to build apartments.


With her account of her trip into the field and her hypothesis on the later lives of the Clocks, she has reached that certain point. In the words of the old folksong “Froggie Went a’Courtin’,” “If you want to hear more, you must sing it yourself.” And two years later, in The Borrowers Afield, Kate does just that, picking up the story with the aid of Tom Goodenough. Arrietty is constrained not only by the gates and gratings of her apartment, the paternalism of her father, and the fussy restrictions of her mother but also by the limits of her knowledge of the world. She can see only a small patch of land and sky from her grating, and the relevant book in her library, Tom Thumb’s Gazetteer of the World, is probably small in content as well as in size.

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Despite her repressed life and perhaps because of it, Homily does play an important role in enabling Arrietty to leave the confines of their home. She opposes the procrastinating Pod, saying they are going to tell Arrietty about his having been seen, and dominates—with many humorous digressions in which she judges other snobbish Borrowers—the ensuing conversation. It is her decision that Pod take the girl on a borrowing trip and her insistence that lead to Arrietty’s making the first excursion. Her choice of a specific day to ask Pod to get the bristles from the front doormat and to take Arrietty with him seems to have been carefully thought out, for she later tells her daughter, who speaks to her from outside the grating, that the door is always open on the first day of spring. Homily’s knowledge of the open door was perhaps gained during the secret excursions of her youth; whether this is the case or not, she has made it possible for Arrietty to pass through an open door, across a threshold.

The Borrowers Afield

In addition, Conrad Vernon, who is known for directing hit animated films such as Shrek 2, Monsters vs. Aliens, Sausage Party and The Addams Family, has officially entered negotiations to helm Universal’s The Borrowers reboot. Should the deal pushes through, this would mark Vernon’s first live-action project as a director. His next projects are MGM’s animated sequel The Addams Family 2, which is currently set for an October 2021 release, and Warner Bros. Together, they finish the story by imagining how the policeman who come the next day don’t believe Mrs. Driver, and that although the exterminator tries to smoke the borrowers out, the boy knocks a hole in the grating to give them some breathing room. On the other hand, Shawn’s own family life isn’t nearly as rosy—but he’s clearly unhappy about it, and neglected by his busy parents, so the movie is honest about the negative effects of divorce and of parents’ careers taking precedence of family. Arrietty respects and admires her father, and he is proud and encouraging of her even when she makes a serious mistake. He looks out for her safety, and insists that she follow the rules.

Who is Kate in the borrowers?

Kate is a little girl who is typically wild, untidy and self-willed and lives in England with her parents. The story of The Borrowers is related to her by Mrs. May, and later stories come from Tom Goodenough. When she grows up, Kate completes the story and writes it out for her four children.

This development does not, however, cause the reader as much readjustment as the previous emphasis on frames perhaps suggests. All along, Norton has used poetic license in telling the central story—which obstensibly originates in the combined eyewitness accounts of Arrietty, Mrs. May’s nine-year old brother, and Tom Goodenough, as boy and old man. Even in the first book, the level of what the narrator calls “guessing” about what happened is high.

The Borrowers — “The Borrowers” Series

Unlike so many family films, coming of age doesn’t mean adolescent rebellion or defiance. Of course there are children whose attitude is “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” especially if, as you note, they’ve had no moral instruction. But in the first place, when I speak on Catholic radio, I’m addressing parents whom I presume are instructing their children, and a movie like this is not going to harm a child who is well instructed. As for children who have had no moral instructions, well, they have much bigger problems than a cartoon like this. Arrietty asks if her parents would emigrate if a cat ate her, and Homily threatens to smack her. When Arrietty first meets the boy, he threatens to hit her with a stick or pick her up and break her in half.