by Mary Norton
The Borrowers Theme of Prejudice
Borrowers don't like humans, humans don't like borrowers, and "borrowing" in one world is "stealing" in the other. Ugh. Can't we all just get along? The inability of big and little people to get past differences ruffles a lot of feathers in The Borrowers, and those who struggle to overcome them mature into more developed characters. So hey, at least it's worth the trouble.
Questions About Prejudice
- In your opinion, do borrowers borrow or steal? What would Arrietty have to say about your answer? And what would the boy tell you?
- How do Arrietty and the boy grow as characters as they become less prejudiced? Which characters stay the same? Why?
- The characters in this novel are so obsessed with labeling things (like labeling "borrowing" as "stealing"). Does putting a name to something help the characters understand it any better? Or does it cause them to move farther away from the true meaning?
Chew on This
Mrs. Driver's actions (taking handkerchiefs, wine, and other such things) are no different from what the Borrowers do, so she should probably get a life and stop bugging 'em.
Mrs. Driver's actions are worse than what the Borrowers do; she is actually stealing.