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Themes

Do you believe in magic? More importantly, don't you want to? There's a part of all of us that, despite evidence to the contrary, still want to see magicians pull rabbits out of hats and believe that crazy, impossible things can be true. It's not too hard a job for characters in The Borrowers to believe, what with all the tiny folks running around, but there's magic and mystery right and left in this novel, and some things that defy belief altogether—the tale itself. Do the borrowers really exist?

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. How would the story be different if the borrowers were just hallucinations—either out of a drunken (Great-Aunt Sophy, Mrs. Driver) or fevered (the boy, Mrs. May's brother) mind?
  2. Were you surprised that Arrietty doesn't believe in fairies? Do you believe that the boy doesn't, too? Why do you think these characters have no trouble believing in borrowers, but not fairies?
  3. Great-Aunt Sophy has no trouble believing her hallucinations—why does she not believe Mrs. Driver when she tells her about the borrowers?
  4. Which characters don't believe in magic (or certain kinds of magic)? Are there commonalities among those characters that do believe, and those that don't? Why?

Chew on This

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

Mrs. May's brother made up the entire story of the borrowers because he wanted his sisters to believe the extraordinary.

Mrs. May made up the story of the borrowers so that Kate would believe the extraordinary.

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