Thursday, 7 March 2013

Seminar: The Borrowers



Fantasy v. reality - the connection to the reader made because they can empathise with losing things. The uncertainty is where the fantasy comes in. Who is telling the truth? Who is withholding information?
Use of landscape. The house as an urban landscape. Making the house a challenging landscape in which their is danger. What is through the grate? Wanting to explore. How landscape is inscribed with class and identity (named after where they live, where they live affects their lifestyle and this class is constructed)
Romanticism. Seen through Arriety’s grate. Homily’s feelings about emigrating and her description of the badger sett. Arriety's desire to go outside and to run in the landscape and be free.
Narrative structure. Stories within stories. A story told from one generation to another. Open ending. 
•Construction of identity: passive or active
•Parallel worlds. The making strange of our own world when seen through the Borrowers eyes and, conversely, the boy making Arriety question how she sees her own world.  Who serves whom? (Ch.10) Stealing or borrowing? - depends on perspective. Is there a Marxist or Postcolonial perspective creeping in? Using the resources of another race. India connection, decline of Empire.
Adult attitudes. e.g. towards the child. What should Arriety know or not know? Should she borrow? She should be literate. Future of the race. Homily-sermon, always grumpy.
Gender modelling: ‘stereotypical’ or challenging models. Family roles, Pod is borrower and provider, Homily is a hysterical 'housewife'.
•Post-war austerity to ecocriticism. Recycling to living off the land. The Harpsichords in the sett.
•Class. Language use, 'parkayyy', broken English. Homily comes from a ‘good family’
•The Family. Other families e.g. Overmantels, Harpsichords. Arriety is lonely without brothers or sisters.
•Tradition and threats to it. 
•Capitalism / materialism (Ch.16) The golden era is one of lots of borrowing and wealth and opulent living.

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