Isabel’s Letter Essay #3: The Borrowers

Recently I finished reading The Borrowers, a 192 page fantasy book written by Mary Norton.  Mary Norton is an English writer most popular for writing her series The Borrowers, Norton was educated in London, but was raised in Bedfordshire, which was the setting for The Borrowers. The Borrowers is a classic book originally published in 1952, this book won the 1952 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association.  After the success of the original Borrower’s book, Norton later wrote The Borrowers Afield(1955), The Borrowers Afloat(1959), The Borrowers Aloft(1961), and finally The Borrowers Avenged(1982).  I read this book because I thought that it had a very interesting plot line, also most of my family has read this book and loved it, so I decided to try it.

The novel The Borrowers follows the Clock family, this family consists of Arrietty, the teenage daughter, Homily, the mother, and Pod, the father, they call themselves the borrowers. The Borrowers starts off with a young girl named Kate who is knitting a quilt with Mrs.May, a nice old lady, who claims to have seen the borrowers.  This novel is told through the perspective of Mrs.May.  The Clock Family is a family of tiny people who live under the floor of Mrs. Mays’ house.  The borrowers fill their home with items that they “borrow” from Mrs. May.  They find new purposes for everyday items, they use stamps as wall art, quarters as plates, etc.  One day the borrowers are seen by Mrs. Mays brother, but in this novel they just refer to him as the boy.  Arrietty keeps in contact with the boy and eventually the boy finds the borrower’s house.  Pod and Homily are panicked and they believe that they need to move immediately, but the boy shows kindness towards the family, and gives them new furniture and helps them with their borrowing.  The borrower’s life is fine until Mrs. Driver, the cook, finds their home and calls the rat catcher, the problem is that the borrowers don’t know what to do next.

I was very surprised when Arrietty contacted the boy.  Pod and Homily had told Arrietty that under no circumstances should she talk to the boy.  I realized that this was a contrast and contradiction moment.  Arrietty usually follows her parents orders, and I could not believe that she would disobey them.  I asked myself why did she do this? I believe that Arrietty wanted to see if she could trust humans.  Pod and Homily have always told Arrietty that humans are disloyal, untrustworthy, and dishonest, so I believe that Arrietty was curious, and wanted to see if these statements were true.  

I liked how the author incorporated many surprising plot changes.  One example of this was when Arrietty talked to the boy, and another surprising plot change was when the boy found the borrower’s house.  I never expected this to happen, and it made me, the reader want to keep reading.  I believe that the most interesting plot change was when the boy gave the Clock family furniture.  This was a random act of kindness and there was no reason to explain why he would do this.

I believe that the theme of this book was perseverance.  The borrowers overcame many challenges and they proved that no matter how small, you can overcome any challenge by persevering.  There were many problems that were included in this novel one example is that both the boy and Mrs. Driver intruded their home.  Also, Arrietty was in contact with the boy which resulted in complicating the life of the Clock family.

Finally, I was interested in the passage when Arrietty decided to go outside for the first time. Norton writes: “She lay back among the primroses and they made a coolness between her and the sun, and then, sighing, she turned her head and looked sideways up the bank among the grass stems.  Startled, she caught her breath. Something had moved above her on the bank.  Something had glittered.  Arrietty stared. (p.69-70).”

I was interested in this passage because it shows how the author writes.  It was a very suspensful passage, and it made me wonder what was happening?  What is going to happen next?  What will Arriety do next?  This book was wonderful and there are many reasons why it is still very popular today.  I hope to re-read this book someday, and I give this book a 7 out of 10.


Isabel Llach

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “Isabel’s Letter Essay #3: The Borrowers

  1. Dear Isabel,

    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. I thought you did a really nice job of using the sign posts we have been learning about in your reflection questions. One thing you could have improved upon was to make your paragraphs a little bit longer.


  2. Isabel,
    Amazing job! I’ve read the Borrowers before and reading this essay includes everything that is in the book. Fantastic job. I really like how you were able to incorporate the “signpost” contrast and contradiction and add you own thinking. I though your summary was excellent and I didn’t notice anything that you needed to change or to add. The paragraphs included lots of information and were very descriptive. Overall you did an amazing job!

  3. Isabel,
    I thought that you specifically did a great job writing your summary and including specific details. I have read the book before and after reading, I know that your summary is extremely accurate and definitely gives readers the important information from the book. I also noticed how you really explained your thinking after the quote and in all the paragraphs. Nice job! I honestly didn’t notice anything that you needed to improve upon, just keep up the good work!

  4. Dear Isabel,
    I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. It was well written. I really like the way ypu anal;yzed the book in the three reflection paragraphs: it made it a lot clearer why you liked the book, and showed more of why you thought the book was good. I would make any corrections, except for I would make your summary a little clearer, and more easy to understand, but overall, good job.


  5. Isabel,
    I thought your summary was very well written. You did a great job on incorporating sign posts that you noticed into your essay! I think you quoted a great passage and had a very strong reflection. You definitely persuaded me to read the book.
    Great job!!

Leave a Reply to Emily Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *