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Written by Claire Cornwall
"That's a nice way to talk. Plenty more. Do you realize," Homily went on gravely, laying down the half nail scissor, " that your poor father risks his life every time he borrows a potato?"
Arrietty has wasted a potato irking her mother because as Borrowers things are not theirs to waste and most of the time cannot be replaced. This quote illustrates two key points in the book; firstly, that Arrietty never truly understood the perilousness of their living situation, or the danger Pos put himself in every day for his family; secondly, although they are called Borrowers, they are really not borrowing things, but taking them. One can borrow blotting paper, dolls house furniture and the like and ostensibly intend to return it some point in the future, but when it comes to food, in this case the potato, that cannot be returned, so is not technically borrowed at all. This quote illustrates the way in which the Borrowers perception of their lives differs from how others might perceive them.
Borrowing's a skilled job, an art like. Of all the families who've been in this house, there's only is left, and do you know for why? Because your father, Arrietty, is the best Borrower that's been known in these parts since - well, before your grandad's time.
The Borrowers are a long-standing, traditional family with a long heritage of which Homiky is particularly proud. In fact it is this feeling of being slightly above other borrowers that prompts her to become obsessed with accumulating more and more things for her home and in part causes them to be discovered. Homily is very proud of her husband as their ancestry and wants her daughter to have the same pride in her history and appreciation for the difficulty of her fathers work.
Human beans are for borrowers - like bread for butter!
Arrietty is convinced that regular people are called Human Beans and is also certain that the world is populated mostly by borrowers, with humans few and far between, existing for the benefit of borrowers who need to get their things from somewhere. Just as bread exists on its own it is much improved with butter on the top; this is the same way for borrowers who can exist on their own but whose lives are significantly improved by being embellished by humans.
"Arrietty used to make her "e's" like little half moons with a stroke in the middle -"
"Well?" said Kate.
Mrs May laughed and took up her work again. "My brother did too," she said.
Kate believes wholeheartedly in Mrs May's brother's account of the borrowers. Mra May wants to believe too and definitely leans towards belief in them, visiting the badger set with supplies for them and definitely smelling food cooking once she got there. However she believes he may have embellished the take to impress her, and doubts that Arrietty's diary is genuine primarily because the young borrower and her brother have the same handwriting. This is the magic of the book as even at the end of the story the reader does not know if the borrowers are real or the creation of a bored young boy with a fertile imagination.
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The "Borrowers" lives change because they're no longer safe. Yes, their lives are easier, as the boy brings them things for their home. He and Arrietty have become friends and companions, a bit of furniture.... some food.... it couldn't hurt,...