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The Borrowers

The Borrowers


by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. When does the story really end? When Mrs. Driver locks the door to the boy's room? When Kate and Mrs. May stop telling the story? Never?
  2. Why do you think this story is a framed narrative (in other words, a story within a story)? How would it be different if we didn't know Mrs. May was telling Kate a story, and we just got the story of Arrietty and her family?
  3. Who is Kate?
  4. The story begins with, "It was Mrs. May who first told me about them. No, not me. How could it have been me—a wild, untidy, self-willed little girl who stared with angry eyes and was said to crunch her teeth? Kate, she should have been called. Yes, that was it—Kate. Not that it matters much either way: she barely comes into the story" (1.1). Is the narrator Kate herself? Why is there distance between the narrator, Kate, and the story of Arrietty? Why do you think the story never returns to this original narrator?
  5. Do you believe the borrowers escaped? Why or why not?
  6. Do you think Mrs. May made up the entire story? Do you think her brother did?
  7. What is the difference between borrowing and stealing in this novel? How do different characters, such as Arrietty, the boy, and Mrs. Driver understand the difference?
  8. Why do you think we never learn the boy's name?
  9. The Borrowers is just a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Do you agree or disagree, and why?
  10. How do different characters' manner of speaking contribute to their identity? Consider Arrietty, her parents, and the humans.
  11. What do you think happened to Aunt Lupy? To Eggletina? Write their side of the story.
  12. What do you think the borrowers' new home will look like? Draw a picture of their new house, and don't forget to add the things they "borrow."
  13. If the borrowers actually did escape, what do you think they brought with them? Pick one prized possession that each character would not leave behind. Why do you think it is so important to them?
  14. If you were a borrower, where would you want to live, and why? What would your room look like?

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