The Secret Garden.
by Frances Hodgson Burnett. HarperCollins, 384 pages.
The Secret Garden is opened by introducing us to the sickly bad-tempered little girl, Mary Lennox; someone who loves no one, someone whom no one loves. She’s living in India with her parents, an army captain and his gorgeous, frivolous wife. Servants took care of poor little Mary, she rarely got to see herparents. One seemingly ordinary day, Mary woke up to realize that many of the servants couldn’t be found anywhere. She woke up to be notiﬁed that those servants had died of cholera, along with her parents. The cholera outbreak had been devastating, it had spread around most of the place. After a brief moment of loneliness, with no one alive but herself, she’s found by a group of soldiers who sent herto live in Yorkshire with her uncle she had never heard anything of, Archibald Craven. Misselthwaite Manor was the place she was sent, you could call it a palace. Enormous expansion, sprawling, with over a hundred rooms. It was such a spooky, phantasmal place. Probably over a hundred years old, spiderwebs could be found in most rooms. This man, Mr. Craven, was described as a miserable hunchback byeverybody near. He had been in a state of inconsolable sorrow since his wife’s death, about ten years before Mary’s arrival. Shortly after she arrives and settles down, Mary hears about a secret garden from Martha, a maidservant in Misselthwaite Manor. It was under late Mistress Craven’s possession, but after her death, Archibald kept the garden door under the guard of a lock and buried the keybeneath the ground somewhere in the place. Mary became intensely curious about the garden and is determined to ﬁnd it. The curiosity and the exercise she practiced on the moor brought her a lot of playfulness, an extremely positive effect upon her. She becomes less sickly and becomes aware of the world, engaging with it, changing. This change is aided by Ben Weatherstaff, a mischievous but kind oldgardener, along with his friend the robin, who lives in the secret garden. She begins to count these two plus Martha, Dickon and Susan as some of the
few friends she has had in all of her life. Her inquisitiveness is even more awake when she hears a far-off, strange cry coming from one of the manor’s distant rooms, which is forbidden for her to access. Mrs. Medlock, the head of the servantsat Misselthwaite, absolutely forbids her to seek the source of the cries. She is distracted from this mystery when she discovers the key to the secret garden, something she couldn’t have done without the robin’s help. She immediately starts plans about working there, so that the neglected plants start to ﬂourish as soon as possible. Dickon vastly helps her with her labor by bringing her a set ofgardening tools and promising her to help her bring the garden back to life. Dickon is this kid who charms the animal of the moor, just the way snake charmers charm the snakes in India. He is a typical moor boy, but ﬁlled with so much intriguing wisdom that made Mary refer to him as “the Yorkshire angel.” One night, Mary heard the distant cries and disobeyed Mrs. Medlock’s prohibition by going offin search of their source. She found Colin Craven, Archibald’s invalid son, bounded in a bedchamber. He was born shortly before his mother’s death so Mr. Craven could not bear to look at him because the poor boy painfully reminded him of his late wife. He had been bedridden since his birth, and was believed to become a hunchback with an early death. The servants were commanded to obey every whim hefancied, with Colin becoming fantastically spoiled as result. They stroke up a friendship, but the time she failed to visit him because she preferred to garden with Dickon, Colin became furious. He threw one of his tantrums and Mary rushed to his room to tell in an immense fury to stop crying. He said that his back was starting to show a hunch. However, when Mary examined him she found nothing...
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