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The Borrowers

The Borrowers

by Mary Norton

Freedom Theme

Arrietty lives for freedom. She craves it the way Shmoop craves burritos (which is to say, a lot). But the weird thing is, when freedom is mentioned in The Borrowers, it often sounds like a bad thing—a dangerous thing. At least, that's what the adults in the novel would have the youngsters like the boy and Arrietty believe. But the thirst for freedom just can't be quenched, as Arrietty and the boy long for both physical and imaginative varieties.

Questions About Freedom

  1. Is freedom a good thing or a bad thing here? Arrietty sure thinks it's good, but what about poor Eggletina?
  2. Do you think that it is more important for characters in the novel to have physical independence (be able to go where they want to) than to have imaginative independence (the freedom to read and learn and talk about what they like)?
  3. How do characters like Arrietty, Homily, and the boy change as a result of having more freedom?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Pod's so stinkin' selfish. He makes his wife and child live sheltered lives underground, and never allows them to know what it is like upstairs.

Not so. Pod's totally selfless, because he risks his own neck to bring his wife what she wants, even if it's as useless as a teacup.

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