The Borrowers

by Mary Norton
illustrated by Diana Stanley


Chapter 3 Synopsis

The Borrowers
Week of June 8, 2009

Chapter 3:

Arrietty is asked to help Homily cut up some onion for the soup. Homily is very worried about Pod since he has not returned from his borrowing. She explains to Arrietty that she had hinted to Pod that she would really like to have a china tea cup and saucer to replace the one that Arrietty broke. She realizes now that at his age, he should not be climbing curtains to get to a china cup and saucer located in a high cupboard. She had urged him to take his hat pin to help him climb and now she feels wicked and selfish. Arrietty surprises her by saying “I could climb a curtain.” Homily is horrified and tells her not to speak like that of borrowing. “You don’t know—and, thank goodness, you never will know—what it’s like upstairs. . . .” After a moment Arrietty asked her what it was like. Your Uncle Hendreary, Eggletina’s father . . .”, but then she paused for she heard Pod’s arrival. “Oh, look at me? Where’s the comb?”


I love this little chapter. It is a short one but says a lot. Homily is very worried about Pod because she hinted to him that she would like a tea cup to replace the one broken by Arrietty. She now realizes she sent him on a mission that might wind up in him being hurt.

Arrietty suggests to Homily she could "borrow". Homily is horrified, of course, and explains to Arrietty that she just doesn't realize "what it's like upstairs." This leaves the reader to wonder just what is so horrible upstairs that Homily is so afraid. Of course if someone did find a Borrower, what would they do with the little person?

This chapter leaves off in kind of an interesting spot because one knows that Arrietty wants badly to get upstairs! She is, quite simply, longing to get beyond the borders of her confinement to the apartment rooms below the house. As comfortable as they may be, I think Arrietty is just too adventurous to be contained.

I liked this chapter--Arrietty is bold enough to suggest to her Mother that she could borrow--a notion that horrifies poor wanna-be-an-overmantle Homily. Or is it that she thinks if Arrietty went out borrowing, she might lose her, and she would suffer the same fate as Eggletina? I think poor Homily just wishes things were like they were before Uncle Hendreary moved out with his family, and therefore, she clings to the old ways. The thought of her daughter borrowing is just too much, lol!

I, too, started reading the Borrowers just today. I'm on the 3rd or 4th chapter myself and I have also been thinking of what a borrower would want from me. I'm keeping a very close eye on my doll dishes and thimbles ;)