Discuss with your partner: Where are these people? Can you describe how they feel? What is their house like? Are they 'normal' people? Why / why not?. About the author: Nat Reed has been a member of the teaching profession for more than 30 years. He is presently a full-time instructor at Trent University in the . The Borrowers. Based on the books by Mary Norton. Adapted for the stage by Charles Way. SEPT 30 - OCT 31, AGES 8+. Grades 3+. SEASON.

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Editorial Reviews. Review. Anyone who has ever entertained the notion of "little Book 1 of 5 in Borrowers (5 Book Series). This is a story with humor as well as loyal friendships through thick and thin. The. Borrowers are a group of small people who live in the homes of humans. They. Mary Norton's "Borrowers" Series and the Myth of the Paternalist Past Andrew O' Malley Children's Literature, Volume 31, , pp. (Article) Published by.

In exchange for the subsistence with which humans graciously yet unwittingly supply borrowers, borrowers fulfill their end of the bar- gain by remaining mostly invisible and unobtrusive neither seen nor heard , and by giving their awe and deference to their providers. He patiently waits while she sips her Fine Old Madeira and recounts to him stories of her youth she believes Pod to be a bottle-induced hallucination.

It was reckless and stupid, no doubt, but also strangely thrilling to address and be answered by a creature of so vast a size, who yet could seem so gentle; to see the giant eyes light up and the great mouth softly smile. Once you had done it and no dreadful disas- ter had followed, you were tempted to try it again.

Aloft 49—50 This is, in essence, the exchange that confirmed the plebeian-patri- cian bond in conservative historical accounts of preindustrial British society. Beyond their dependence on and submission to their superiors in size, the Clocks are clearly marked both in physical appearance and cultural practice as members of an old-fashioned English lower class. The parents have the concerns that at one time would have been associated with those of the respectable poor trying to secure a better life for their children.

They are very concerned that their daughter Arrietty reap the ben- efits of an education they themselves did not enjoy: The first illustration of the Clocks, in the first book of the series, de- picts them as the very model of the industrious, laboring family unit. John Brand, the noted antiquarian and documenter of British plebeian customs in the late eighteenth century, sought to render visible the mysterious and hidden traditions of the common people: Brand, for example, makes the connection quite clear, pointing out how plebeians, like children, need rational guidance to be drawn out of their fears and superstitions: Brand later likens the role of state legislators seeking to suppress the more vicious plebeian traditions and feasts to that of the guardians of the young: Left without strict supervision, plebeians and their potentially unruly culture , like children, are a potential danger to themselves and others: Despite their dependence on the big people who un- wittingly sustain them, the Clocks enjoy the relative freedom of those who are not subject to the artificial rhythms of the factory, and who do not subsist by the sale of their labor.

In fact, the borrowers exist outside of a capital-driven and currency-based economy, managing instead by barter and borrowing. Norton avoids the potential class antagonisms associated with an industrial-age working class by config- uring the borrowers more as preindustrial plebeians who, in the con- servative model of paternalism imagined by the series, exist in a rela- tive state of harmony.

Not all borrowers, however, share exactly the same cultural practices. Indeed the cultural prac- tices that tend to define class affiliation vary depending on where borrowers live, and with what types of people they have contact. The Clocks live under the kitchen floor, and their way of life reflects the humble station of the human servants who work in that part of the house. The Overmantles and Harpsichords who seem, with the exception of Peagreen, to have vanished live in the parlor and consume a rich diet made up of the leftovers from teas and parties.

Unlike the more cautious and respect- ably teetotaling Clocks, they indulge, shockingly, in liquor and tobacco. Their contact with the better class of people who live in the house yields the more refined tastes and airs Homily finds so insufferably snobbish.

Peagreen, the lame, sensitive, artistic borrower whom the Clocks encounter in the last installment of the series, is, apparently, the last member of the elite Overmantle branch of the race. He explains how he came to enjoy a greater degree of literacy and appreciation of high culture than most borrowers: In the old days, in a house like this, the human children had tutors and governesses and lesson books: My grandfather knew Greek and Latin.

Up to a point. In a sense, however, these class distinc- tions between borrowers are artificial, since none of their culture is their own. Class in borrower society is not an innate category, as their class cultures are never of their own making, but are, rather, derived from emulation. For Brougham, the natural direction of all cultural and intellectual exchange was down- wards from the higher to the lower orders: One word [.

I think it must be admitted that it is always one way, and that downwards. You begin by mak- ing the upper classes aware of the value of certain kinds of knowl- edge [. As Mrs. May informs Kate early in the first book, the borrowers are so devoid of any cultural autonomy that their very names are not of their own making: The borrowers do not so much shape their environment as take on its characteristics, just as plebeians in domestic service were imagined to borrow like the Overmantles not only the property of their mas- ters but a reduced form of their culture.

While emulation may be the only form of cultural expression avail- able to borrowers, it carries with it the danger of transgression as well.

Borrowing is tolerated, but only if it supplies basic needs; if their con- sumption and behavior exceed certain class boundaries, the borrow- ers endanger the delicate balance that allows them to coexist with humans.

The Borrowers Series

When they gain, through the boy, unprecedented access to a vari- ety of luxury items formerly considered out of bounds, they begin to take on the airs of their social betters. In addition to the dollhouse furnishings, the boy outfits their humble abode under the floor with such valuable trinkets as a miniature silver harp and violin, and a jew- elled snuff-box, taken from the display case in the parlor. The Clocks also begin to enjoy such delicacies as caviar instead of the humble fare of potatoes and chestnuts that had previously sustained them.

Golby and A. Purdue have noted, always been fraught with the danger of transgression: Those in the superior social positions have never taken kindly to evidence of the increased prosperity of those in inferior stations and their aspirations to comforts and refinements. Driver that the dangers of their aspirations become evident.

They are reduced to living out of doors, braving the elements and enduring the myriad dangers, which, as Pod warns Arrietty, are always present: While living outside represents the realization of an unprecedented freedom for Arrietty, it spells for Homily not only peril, but also a fall from grace, an expulsion from civilization into the savage wilderness. And this was the level as she often warned them back home to which borrowers must sink if ever, for their sins, they took to the great outdoors.

Homily has internalized it appropriately: Considering the conservative notion of class structure Norton is portraying here, her tolerance for, if not endorsement of, the petty theft by which borrowers survive may seem somewhat incongruous. Indeed, Arrietty has a very difficult time persuading the Boy that there is any difference between what Pod does and simple theft Borrowers 83— However, as the preface to Poor Stainless suggests, to accuse borrowers of stealing is to display a lack of the largesse those in a superior station are supposed to have: In the paternalis- tic relation between borrowers and their hosts, humans should turn a blind eye to the insubstantial and harmless liberties taken by the little people—as long as they do not exceed prescribed limits.

Borrowing is also, however, represented as a skill, a trade, or even a craft, with a long and proud history. Further, borrowing is a distinctly codified form of scavenging; borrowers do not take from each other, and, as Pod explains, they take from humans only out of necessity: Not out of greediness. And not out of laziness, neither. Borrowing for borrowers [. As an established practice designed to assist subsistence, bor- rowing resembles the ancient plebeian system of perquisites and cus- tomary usage.

Traditional rights to appropriate needed goods pre- vailed in Britain until enclosure and the more rigid private property laws of industrial capitalism increasingly criminalized their exercise. Such customary rights as gleaning—the gathering of ears of corn or other produce left behind after harvest—constituted essential ad- ditions to plebeian diets, and had scriptural precedent: The sanction of religious precept was perhaps particularly strong with respect to gleaning customs: Hay and Rogers 87 14 As Clive Emsley has demonstrated, what plebs claimed as perks ex- tended far beyond the harvest leftovers often required to keep body and soul together.

Domestic servants also took and expected a wide range of perks: The scullion took firings and small coals. Driver sees no wrong in helping herself to a few other odds and ends as well: What is absent from this equation, and what cultural historians such as E. Thompson have attempted to reintroduce into it, is the per- ception of this economy from below. Customary usage and the patronage-deference model did, undeni- ably, define social interaction between ranks in preindustrial Britain.

How the elite and the privileged understood the nature of this cul- tural exchange is clear. The squire and his manor were at the center of the community; respected and loved by most if not all, he acted as the host of village feasts and celebrations, and the benefactor to the local poor.

This is an enticing image of social harmony, in which all the stations of life are linked and share the same vision of their world. This model, however, elides the plebeian understanding of perks as rights claimed, rather than gifts bestowed by benevolent superiors. Thompson points to the ubiquity of plebeian revolts and riots in the eighteenth century to question the myth of a mostly harmonious preindustrial society: The balance that main- tained the social hierarchy was often strained, and understood differ- ently by those at either end.

Even when tokens of deference were as they surely very often were given to superiors, they could never be taken at face value as guarantees of respect or submission: The invisibility of the borrowers is the result of a modernity that no longer appreciates or recognizes the way of life they represent. May and later Miss Menzies infer, borrowers lived openly with human beings at some point in the distant past.

Norton seems to imply that a callous, materialistic, modern world increasingly popu- lated by such figures as Mr. Platter and the attorney Mr. Beguid has forced them into hiding and depleted their numbers drastically. It is perhaps ironic that in her desire to depict the Clocks as harmlessly old-fashioned, Norton chose to make Pod a shoemaker; practitioners of this trade were among the earliest and most active labor radicals.

This is how Norton is using the myth: Further separating the borrowers from the possibilities of plebeian resistance is the absence of a community. Most borrowers live either in isolation Peagreen and Spiller , or as the discrete nuclear families enshrined since the late eighteenth century in middle-class domestic ideology. Much of the strength and vibrancy of plebeian culture was derived from its collective and public nature. One of the ways anti- quarians and folklorists such as Sir Walter Scott and the Grimms declawed popular or plebeian culture, and made it fit for consump- tion in the middle-class parlor or nursery, was by isolating it from its original communal context.

The fixed hierar- chies of feudalism are indeed no longer a part of British society. The myth of the paternalist past, however, can still be used to legitimize class disparity.

I would argue further that the model of patron- age and deference that Norton reproduces in her books can be used to describe the relationship that commonly exists between adults and children. The flipside of cherishing innocence is inscribing powerlessness and en- abling the construction of difference that characterizes all unequal relations. Notes 1. The blurbs on the dustjackets of the books attest to this. The historical narrative of the demise of British paternalism and the very notion of a society harmoniously united by the balancing forces of deference and patronage have been rigorously challenged in the last two decades, most notably by E.

Thomp- son in Customs in Common: In The Presence of the Past, Valerie Krips provides useful insight into how these two impulses—preserving a version of the historical past and preserving childhood—inter- sect: The fact that Pod and Homily are adults while Arrietty is an adolescent compli- cates the system of representation in the texts that configures them as children, but does not undermine it.

The adults here are still childlike, even if they are not exactly children. Beguid, who is evicting old Tom. For example, when Miss Menzies, the would-be benefactor of the Clocks, tries to explain their disappearance to the police officer, she remarks: Any number of Cheap Repository Tracts also have similar portrayals, e.

While Clocks, Drainpipes, and Overmantles may observe class differences between themselves, they are all still plebeian in their shared state of dependence. There is, at the same time, a danger in ascribing to borrower culture the full range of its human counterpart. Chris Hopkins implies that the experiences of the Clocks can apply to all people: Perhaps these things can happen to anybody, but they tend to happen most often to the disenfranchised and those on the margins of power.

In part, this bias may have arisen from the statistical fact that the majority of domestics were female. The assumption, however, was applied to plebs of both genders: Pod actually refers to this traditional practice when he and his family are trying to survive out of doors: See Thompson Customs 59—60; Working Class —81 and Limbaugh —35 for the role of shoemakers in early, preindustrial forms of trade unionism.

Equally important to this process of appropriation was, of course, the conversion of the oral into the textual. Johnson, — Belcham, John. Industrialization and the Working Class: The English Experience, — Brookfield, VT: Gower Pub. Blumenberg, Hans.

Work on Myth. Robert M. Browse Best Books of the Month , featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories. Then you can start reading site books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no site device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Pod, Homily, and daughter Arrietty of the diminutive Clock family outfit their subterranean quarters with the tidbits and trinkets they've "borrowed" from "human beans," employing matchboxes for storage and postage stamps for paintings.

Readers will delight in the resourceful way the Borrowers recycle household objects.

For example, "Homily had made her a small pair of Turkish bloomers from two glove fingers for 'knocking about in the mornings. Curiosity drives Arrietty to commit the worst mistake a Borrower can make: This engaging, sometimes hair-raisingly suspenseful adventure is recounted in the kind, eloquent voice of narrator Mrs.

May, whose brother might--just might--have seen an actual Borrower in the country house many years ago. April 1, Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Language: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Enabled Word Wise: Enabled Lending: Not Enabled Screen Reader: Supported Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled site Best Sellers Rank: Read more Read less.

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Customers recommend. Best rocket ships for kids See what customers said about these highly rated items. Set by Constructive Playthings. Great toy. All the kids love to play with this one. I love anything that gets my kids excited about science. The pieces are mostly durable. Just a great book for those kids that love magic, action, and fact! A wonderful blend. Editorial Reviews site. Mary Norton creates a make-believe world in which tiny people live hidden from humankind beneath the floorboards of a quiet country house in England.

Ages 9 to Praise for Mary Norton's The Borrowers: See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Children's Books. Book Series. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Customer images.

See all customer images. Read reviews that mention mary norton little people pod and homily people who live mrs driver tiny people well written borrowers afield years old mrs may highly recommend john goodman clock family grandfather clock good book entrance to their home borrowing things borrowers afloat homily and arriety site edition.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified download. Been reading it to a classroom of 2nd graders.

They love it but it might be just a touch beyond the clear comprehension of some of them. I am not enjoying it as much as I remember from my own childhood but don't let that bother you. I grew up to be a bit of a curmudgeon. Trying to guide him toward more classic literature vs.

Maybe we are just too tainted by the instant gratification of video games and TV. The explanatory beginning is too mundane to hold our interest. The problem is not just that I had to explain differences of everyday life in the past e.

Atwater instead.

The Borrowers Worksheets and Literature Unit

site Edition Verified download. But what got me started in this series was the movie Arrietty. This book tells the tale of a small family of Borrowers called the Clocks who fall on not so great times following the emigration of their relatives - the Harpsichord and the Overmantles. They sometimes refer to humans as beans and thunk that the big people live for the benefit of the little people.

This perception is shattered when Arrietty strikes a friendship with a human boy, a temporary resident. It also leads to an interesting adventure for Arrietty.

The storyline was smooth and well thought out except the ending Not five minutes ago I saw "The Borrowers" listed under the site Feb. This beautiful book was one of the first books I read as a child. Our elementary school had a library and each child was expected to take out and read a book every week on Friday afternoon no less. When I found this book, I found my passion, my imagination soared and I fell head over heals in love with reading.

I was about 8 and a very active child, running and playing and loving the outdoors. But this book stopped me in my tracks. For days I ran to my bedroom and tucked myself up with it while my family watched TV. When I got older and was planning for my children I began looking for the book and couldn't find it. I am thrilled to be able to place it in my digital library. Reading has taken a back-seat to video.

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I've learned from experience that this is not good for our young people. Creative thinking is developed through use of the imagination. Our children need to be able to think creatively if they are to develop the skills to lead us in the future.Customer images.

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Robert M.

The Borrowers Afield. Borrowing is also, however, represented as a skill, a trade, or even a craft, with a long and proud history. Bed-Knob and Broomstick. This is the first in a series and they're all great! Observation on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain. This is an enticing image of social harmony, in which all the stations of life are linked and share the same vision of their world.