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The Borrowers

The Borrowers


by Mary Norton

The Borrowers Theme of Youth

Kids get a bad rap. Adults think they are lazy or stubborn or, worse, naughty, and in a fight between parents and children, the parents almost always win. Totally unfair, right. Right. And The Borrowers doesn't do much to change that dynamic. Throughout most of the novel, youth is cast in a negative light—Mrs. Driver and Homily call kids like Arrietty, the boy, and even the young policeman named Ernie "wicked," "nasty," and "no-good," and most of the time the kids can't answer back. But in the end, the kiddos save the day, so really, who's on top?

Questions About Youth

  1. Based on the stories of Arrietty, the boy, and Eggletina, do you think boys have more freedom and independence than the young girls in this novel?
  2. Why do you think Mrs. Driver and Homily call the young characters in this novel nasty names? Is this just a case of adults controlling kids, or do their characters have similarities?
  3. How are our young characters' behaviors influenced by the adults around them? Are they more influenced by their own hearts?

Chew on This

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

Adults have more power in this novel. They tell the kids what to do, and even get to tell the story (we're looking at you Mrs. May!).

Youths have more power in this novel. Although the adults tell them what to do, the kids choose whether or not to obey, and they set everything in motion.

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