November 10, 2021

The Borrowers Series by Mary Norton

The Borrowers

Norton may well have used the understanding of set design and stage lighting acquired in her years in the theater to display settings in a way that brought their importance to the attention of readers. In a play, the main focus of the action would be the Clocks’ subfloor apartment.

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Mrs. Driver destroys the Clocks’ home and goes to find the gardener. The boy returns while Mrs. Driver is gone and offers to help the Clocks escape.

The Borrowers – Set of All Five First Editions – Comprising: The Borrowers/Afield/Afloat/Aloft/Avenged

When she finds the boy in the kitchen, she imprisons him, lying to her mistress that he has a cold, making communication between them impossible. She also decides to exterminate the Borrowers, sealing their avenue of escape and engaging the ratcatcher, experiencing an evil delight in anticipation of success. ” malicious gleam, a look of triumph” is in her eyes when she apprehends the boy; and she envisions that the old woman will “change her tune, like enough, when I take up afterwards, laid out in sizes, on a clean piece of newspaper” .

  • Everyone seems subject to danger and change, and in that sense to “feminization.” For if size is seen as relative, so too are the possible and the impossible.
  • Containing almost no offensive elements, THE BORROWERS will cheer and delight the entire family, with a clean, wholesome children’s fantasy.
  • Appropriately, no one except the boy believes her, for hateful, vindictive liar that she is, she possesses neither sympathy nor understanding for the Clocks.
  • When Pod relates his first meeting with the boy, the first time he has been seen, “Homily stared at him in silence” (Borrowers, 30; italics mine).
  • She is concerned that she didn’t have a feeling when the Boy approached, so she practices by going to a certain passage below the kitchen, which is more frequently trafficked by humans than the rest of the house.

Mrs. Driver lifts up the board and sees Pod, Homily and Arrietty before they are able to hide. One day, Homily asks Pod to borrow a new miniature teacup to replace one that Arrietty broke a few days earlier.

The Borrowers Afloat

The corollary of freedom seems to be the motto, “Trust no one.” It is then decided (unexpectedly by Homily, who seems to feel that otherwise Arrietty’s frustrations will precipitate some worse crisis) that Arrietty is to go borrowing, even though Pod at first protests that he “never heard of no girl going borrowing” . Arrietty’s mother clearly sees her daughter’s interest in the outside world as interfering with her domestic role. Indeed, Arrietty herself shares this view, since she often performs domestic tasks badly when called away from the grating; in this case she rolls a whole potato from the storeroom and nearly knocks Homily into the soup. These observations are not meant to suggest that Pod is a negative character. He is not; however, his patriarchal authority is one factor with which Arrietty must contend if she is to mature.

The Borrowers

To prevent the Boy from helping the Borrowers escape, she locks him in his room until it is time for him to return to India. Meanwhile, she hires a rat catcher to fumigate the house in order to trap the Borrowers. Mrs Driver cruelly allows the Boy out of his room so that he can watch when the Borrowers’ bodies are found.

About Tomatometer

But she calms herself and bravely confronts the boy, staring at his eye. Her bluff works, and she adroitly encourages his questions about reading. She is shocked when he calls her a fairy, denying that such creatures exist. Her reaction is important, for the boy, in calling her a fairy, is denying her identity as a Borrower. She knows what she is and is not as a species; she does not, as yet, know who she is as an individual.

He doesn’t want to take Arrietty borrowing and believes the worst when the boy sees him. Pod loves his family and does his best to provide for them. One day, when Pod goes out borrowing, Arrietty tells Homily that she is going to the storeroom but instead sneaks up to the night nursery to see the boy. The boy had delivered the letter, and Uncle Hendreary wrote back asking her to tell Aunt Lupy to come home. Pod overhears Arrietty talking to the boy and takes her back downstairs. Pod and Homily are frightened that the boy will find their house, and now, even if they emigrate, they cannot move in with Hendreary because the boy knows where he lives as well.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

In the last book, the same characters appear, joined by others from the parrish of the church where Aunt Lupy, Uncle Hendreary, and their youngest son have taken refuge. Spiller leads the Clocks to the old rectory of this church when Pod decides that Little Fordham is not only too exposed, but is also so well provided materially that it affords him few of the challenges on which his psychological survival depends. The old rectory, described in loving detail by Norton, is no such easy berth, having been deserted by human beings except for the caretakers who live in the kitchen portion of the house. There is, however, a young male Borrower living there, Peagreen, a member of the stuckup Overmantel family, crippled by a fall from the mantel and left behind when his family were driven out by Art Nouveau renovations. Peagreen, who is an artist, becomes, in effect, Arrietty’s new confidant, giving her for the first time a Borrower rather than a human being in whom she can confide. As becomes increasingly clear, Arrietty’s need for communication cannot be satisfied by Spiller, the unlearned and inarticulate; whether Peagreen will become Spiller’s rival for Arrietty’s hand, contradicting earlier predictions, is left open for the reader’s guessing.

While the narration there, for the most part, records only Arrietty’s inner consciousness, when necessary, the narrator does not hesitate to move into other minds as well, including the alien one of Mrs. Driver, plotting to capture whoever has been engaging in petty pilfering in Firbank Hall. Nor does the style of telling the central story, which is interrupted by much circumstantial detailed description but little intrusive narrator interpretation, vary much in the first three books from the style in the last two books. Even when internal narrators are present, Norton seems to strive, almost paradoxically, for the impression of an unmediated account during the actual storytelling.

Shelve The Borrowers Afloat

But her telling is not simply a repetition of his telling. She had, we have seen, listened many times to his going over events and conversations. She, like Miss Price, who “pieced the pattern together” (Bed-Knob, 57) from the Wilson children’s disjointed accounts of their first trip on the bed, has organized her brother’s information into a coherent, chronological narrative.

The Borrowers

All resources and wealth flow forth from the upper classes, who expect in return only the reverence, gratitude, and invisibility of those whom they sustain. Who sees The Borrowers and how they react to them determine much of the meaning of the story. There are ten human beings, three of whom—the ratcatcher, the policeman, and the village boy—are of little importance except for the part they play in the final attempt to exterminate the Clocks and for the fact that all are skeptical of Mrs. Driver’s sighting. Although he never returned to the great house or learned what happened to Pod, Homily, and Arrietty, the boy continued to think of them. Mrs. May reports that on the boat to India, he would go “over the old ground, repeating conversations, telling me details again and again” , and that when he and his sister had grown up, he continued to speak about the events. That he should remember and frequently recount the episodes of that summer is not surprising.

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