When she arrives at the Misselthwaite estate, the servants let her know that her uncle will pay no attention to her and that she is expected to get by on her own. Soon after her arrival, Mary learns about a secret garden on the estate that has been locked away for 65 years. Thwaite, Waiting for the Party, 776. 8. Mary also befriends Dickon Sowerby, the brother of her housemaid Martha, who is a great lover of nature and is beloved by every living thing, including every animal he meets, and he begins to help Mary tend to the garden. After hearing the soft sound of crying from time to time in the house, Mary eventually discovers Colin, the sickly, demanding son of Mr. The Secret Garden Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. . Burnett is now chiefly known as a children's author, but during her lifetime, she was also famous as an adult novelist. Craven, who remains secluded in his room and is not expected to live long.
Craven lives in a huge manor house with nearly 655 rooms, most of which are unused since the death of his wife 65 years earlier, an event that has left him bereft. Follow Us on Facebook Both characters are motherless, and both have been neglected by the people who should be raising them. . Coming of Age in America’s Classic Children’s Books (New York: She produced a fictive trio of children who metaphorically learned to uproot the ravaging weeds of imperialism, prune out social division, and from chaos created harmony: Like the best children’s authors, she describes the wonders of the world through a child’s eyes, wonders that adults often take for granted. 6. Craven and her husband ordered that it be locked away after her death because it caused him too much pain. Mary’s weeding of the tangled masses of plants suggests a psychological cultivation that clears the way for inner development. 5 The garden represents a pastoral restorative world that reflects psychological healing and growth. Like the secret garden, Misselthwaite Manor is a marker for Mary’s inner life. Puffin Books, 6956), 66. 9. But, according to her biographer Ann Thwaite, even after Burnett became wealthy, she was driven by money, never seeming to have enough. 6Both Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden were written during the Edwardian era, a time of remarkable creativity in children’s writing. Peace in the revisioned Eden. ” “Romanticism vs. Yet magic in this novel is far different from that of a fantasy story. Jean Webb views this weeding in larger social terms: The outer landscape of the secret garden corresponds with Mary’s inner landscape, both neglected and overlooked. The Secret Garden is a story in which environment acts upon characters, influencing their development. Jerry Griswold, Audacious Kids: Soon Colin is able to stand and walk, but the children keep this a secret because he wants to surprise his father when he returns from his travels, hoping that his improved health will enable his father to love him. A corresponding movement towards health and wholeness drives the action of the novel. In the second half of the novel, Colin is introduced. According to Ann Thwaite, Burnett started writing The Secret Garden amidst the excitement of planning her own garden for her Long Island home. Described as an eerie Gothic mansion, it contains nearly a hundred rooms, the majority of which are shut up and locked. Upon first exploring this mysterious house, Mary gets lost among its mazelike corridors. It is the story of a girl whose life suddenly changes when she is forced to live with an unknown uncle after her parents die. Mr. It appears to be abandoned, but she finds a few sprigs of new growth and begins tending to them even though she knows nothing about gardening. Harmondsworth, UK: A prolific and popular author, Burnett wrote 57 works in a variety of genres – short fiction, essays, novels, romances, and adaptations for the stage. Today she is best remembered for The Little Lord Fauntleroy (which became an instant bestseller), A Little Princess, and The Secret Garden. “In a psychological sense, ” points out Gerry Griswold, “Mary is probing the unconscious and seeks the darkest, most remote, and most deeply hidden secret of the House of Craven. ”6 When she finally discovers Colin, she confronts her dark self. Mary opens Colin’s window to let fresh air into the house Warburg, 6979), 86. 7. Dickon brings animals from the outside world into the manor Waiting for the Party, 769-75. 5. Empire in The Secret Garden, ” in Introducing Children’s Literature: Mary, we are told, “had begun to wonder why she had never seemed to belong to anyone even when her father and mother had been alive. When her parents die in a cholera epidemic, Mary is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven, in Yorkshire, England. Colin acts as a mirror to Mary, reflecting her self-defeating behavior. Secker Burnett, The Secret Garden, 659.
She becomes enchanted with the idea of the garden and determined to find it, and eventually she locates it and goes inside. Unbeknownst to the residents of the manor, Mr.