The Borrowers Themes

The Borrowers Themes

The British Obsession With Class

Homily is determined to be seen to have done better in life than any other Borrower family; it is not necessary for her to have actually done better, just to give the appearance of having done so. She is also very concerned about the possibility of having to leave the big country house and emigrate to the badger set like her extended family have done; she looks down on that side of the family and does not want to live alongside them. Homily's need to acquire more upscale items for her home is also part of her picture of herself as being of a higher class than those without fancy decorations. This strict adherence to class amongst the Borrowers reflects the obsession with class and knowing one's place that permeated British society at the time Mary Norton wrote the book.

The Importance Of Family and Ancestry

Homily is most anxious that Arrietty understands the family tradition of Borrowing and wants her to accompany Pod on his expeditions so that she can fully grasp how Borrowing is done and can continue it into the next generation. Homily and Pod are also concerned to keep their identity a secret to preserve their nuclear family. Ironically it is also respect for ancestry and family that prompts Arrietty to want to move to the badger set and also the reason she wants the Boy to take a letter to her extended family; she also wants to keep the family together and her goal is to reunite them all and create future generations, strengthening the family and maintaining traditions. Although she and Homily both have very different ways of accomplishing their goal both are anxious to keep the family together and this theme runs strongly throughout the book.

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