How we cite our quotes:
His wife and child led more sheltered lives in homelike apartments under the kitchen, far removed from the risks and dangers of the dreaded house above. But there was a grating in the brick wall of the house, just below the floor level of the kitchen above, through which Arrietty could see the garden—a piece of graveled path and a bank where crocus blooms in spring. (2.2)
The grate is like a window to the outside world for the borrowers, but only Arrietty seems to appreciate it. It's strange that Homily does not get the same desire for freedom that Arrietty does. We'd like to think that just about everybody would want to go for a stroll along that graveled path and frolic among the flowers.
"Strong gates," said Pod, "gates you can't open. What are they there for?"
"Against the mice?" said Arrietty.
"Yes," agreed Pod uncertainly, as though he gave her half a mark, "but mice never hurt no one. What else?"
"Cats?" echoed Arrietty, surprised.
"Or to keep you in?" suggested Pod. (6.17-19, 22-23)
You mean all that time those gates weren't to protect Arrietty, they were to imprison her? Yikes. We have to say, we lost a bit of respect for Pod here. He's not just a benevolent daddy. He's kind of a helicopter parent, too. We bet this is one seriously shocking moment for Arrietty. Imagine how you'd feel if your parents were secretly locking you in.
"You see, Pod," went on Homily, "it was different for you and me. There was other families, other children […] we had more, as you might say, freedom." (6.62)
Ah-ha. So Pod and Homily lived more freely in their youth, but they don't want their child to enjoy the same freedom? They sound a little hypocritical to us. Learning a little more about their past certainly sheds some rather interesting light on their present parenting.