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The Secret Garden: Chapters 19, 20 and 21 
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Post The Secret Garden: Chapters 19, 20 and 21
The Secret Garden: Chapters 19, 20 and 21

Please use this thread for discussing Chapters 19, 20 and 21 of "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. You may also create your own threads if you'd like to make comments that don't necessarily pertain to specific chapters.

Chapter 19 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/19/

Chapter 20 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/20/

Chapter 21 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/21/



Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:39 pm
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Colin is increasingly imperious in these chapters, the young rajah. I found myself cheering for him despite this imperiousness and it does advance the plot by providing a cover for their secret activities. The link back to Mary's days in India is evident, perhaps reinforcing the degree of change in both Mary and Colin.

This book has a strong sense of place. The moors, the Yorkshire language and rural culture but I'm wondering if Burnett is suggesting that the healing/development process that Mary and Colin undergo is specific to this place? Could this healing have happened in India or in the US where she wrote the book? Is "the Magic" locational or somehow tailored to that specific environment?



Tue Dec 16, 2008 11:32 am
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Could this healing have happened in India or in the US where she wrote the book?


There are a few references to the heat of India as being unhealthy. I think it is a very British attitude about the healing power of cool air. Babies are put outside in their prams to nap in the cool fresh air because it is considered healthy. I have heard houses are kept much cooler in Britain than in US and Canada because of this idea.

Also, as you said, the closeness of nature in this setting, of new life, the moors, and the rural culture is this setting is considered to be a healing force. It reminds me of the book Heidi, where Heidi brings the invalid Clara to the mountain sure that the mountain will make her well. And it does, the fresh mountain air, the goats, the fresh goats milk, and Alm Uncle (crusty old man who lost love, just like Mr Craven) make her well.

I have to say I agree. Nature is healing.



Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:28 pm
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realiz wrote:
I think it is a very British attitude about the healing power of cool air. Babies are put outside in their prams to nap in the cool fresh air because it is considered healthy. . .I have to say I agree. Nature is healing.


I was a breech birth baby, born with lung damage, and on the baby doctor's instruction was raised in an unheated room with chimney and windows open. I remember waking up to snow on the floor. At least part of the time I had an electric blanket so was warm in bed. Birds regularly fell down the chimney or flew in the windows and would circle overhead before finding their way out a window. A cousin who teased me for having birds in the bedroom has long been dead from poor health, and I continue on.

Tom



Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:17 pm
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The healing power of nature is fine, but when it comes indoors perhaps it gets a bit tedious. And British houses are famously drafty and cold but I doubt this is due to a belief in the healthiness of cool air but rather due to a tendency to build poor houses with inadequate heating systems, at least this is what my british relatives and friends tell me.



Wed Dec 17, 2008 2:00 am
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giselle wrote:
This book has a strong sense of place. The moors, the Yorkshire language and rural culture but I'm wondering if Burnett is suggesting that the healing/development process that Mary and Colin undergo is specific to this place? Could this healing have happened in India or in the US where she wrote the book? Is "the Magic" locational or somehow tailored to that specific environment?
Each place has its specific magic in the sense Burnett describes, which is really rather taoist. The Taoist view is that magic is about being true to nature, and human cultural basis in nature is distorted by freedom to go against the tao. The Secret Garden, because of its fertility and neglect, is vastly more natural than the artificial surrounds of english society. The idea is that things left to themselves evolve into ever greater complexity, and this natural complexity has a magical quality. The garden is in tune with the tao.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao suggests everything is a manifestation of tao. The problem is that people have ideas which reject their natural identity, and these ideas are both a source of dynamic growth and of alienation and suffering.



Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:43 pm
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RT
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The idea is that things left to themselves evolve into ever greater complexity, and this natural complexity has a magical quality.


I don't know if this is entirely true about the Secret Garden as there are hints that it has not really been left to itself, and the garden itself begins to improve and come alive as the children spend the time tending it. The magic grows as they lovingly prune and weed and let the magic loose. There is a duality to this which maybe matches the Tao idea.



Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:53 pm
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realiz wrote:
RT
Quote:
The idea is that things left to themselves evolve into ever greater complexity, and this natural complexity has a magical quality.
I don't know if this is entirely true about the Secret Garden as there are hints that it has not really been left to itself, and the garden itself begins to improve and come alive as the children spend the time tending it. The magic grows as they lovingly prune and weed and let the magic loose. There is a duality to this which maybe matches the Tao idea.
You are right, this comment needs clarification. People are a part of nature, and the complexity of the secret garden, which of course is itself an artificial human creation with its walls and plantings, includes the interaction with humans. The absence of humans over ten years has allowed the artifice to revert to the wild to some extent, and this reversion is a part of the magical quality. Natural wilderness with plants that are hundreds of years old has an even more intricate complexity than this artificial example, and displays the tao of nature even more clearly, if people care to look. The robin signals that the garden is somehow yearning for the return of humans, and for people to participate in the cosmic harmony of the garden. This reminds me of Woodstock by Joni Mitchell

I came upon a child of god
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
Im going on down to yasgurs farm
Im going to join in a rock n roll band
Im going to camp out on the land
Im going to try an get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe its the time of man
I dont know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devils bargain
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden



Wed Dec 17, 2008 8:29 pm
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Robert Tulip wrote:
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden


Here is a Theosophical view on getting back to the garden:

http://www.theosophical.org/resources/a ... ndings.pdf
The Influence of Surroundings by Charles W. Leadbeater



Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:46 am
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Quote:
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden


OK, but I want to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, or at least hang around it and learn by absorption.



Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:42 pm
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For thousands of years humans have lived so cruelly that all wild creatures fear and avoid them, so the influence of the animal kingdom upon humanity is practically confined to that of the domestic animals.


This quote from the article that Tom referenced above helps to highlight how significant Dickon's relationship with the robin and with other animals is and how his charm with animals is seen as a form of magic. His gentleness and understanding toward the animals and plants creates an aura around him, which I think would draw people toward him. For Mary and Colin the curative power of this magic is clear and they want to believe in it.



Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:43 pm
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realiz wrote:
Quote:
And weve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden


OK, but I want to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, or at least hang around it and learn by absorption.


Well, as I remember, there were two trees -- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (worldly wisdom) and the Tree of Life (the Qi Tree). And this second tree is the one that gives health and vitality, so Mary and Colin were partaking of this second tree.

Tom



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giselle wrote:
. . .how significant Dickon's relationship with the robin and with other animals is and how his charm with animals is seen as a form of magic. His gentleness and understanding toward the animals and plants creates an aura around him, which I think would draw people toward him. For Mary and Colin the curative power of this magic is clear and they want to believe in it.


A stray cat I took in added, I believe, a year to my elderly mother's life. She had pretty much given up on life until the cat showed up. And this magic doesn't require a prescription from a Dr. Craven.

Tom



Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:02 pm
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Thomas Hood wrote:
realiz wrote:
Quote:
And weve got to get ourselves Back to the garden

OK, but I want to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, or at least hang around it and learn by absorption.
Well, as I remember, there were two trees -- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (worldly wisdom) and the Tree of Life (the Qi Tree). And this second tree is the one that gives health and vitality, so Mary and Colin were partaking of this second tree. Tom


The Two Trees, by WB Yeats, provides a good symbolic description of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge, and it seems clear that The Secret Garden is about the Tree of Life, which of course is also known as Ygdrassil in Norse myth, features in the Kabbalah and is mentioned in Genesis and Revelation. The second verse is quite a good description of the delusory ideas that The Secret Garden aims to address.

THE TWO TREES

by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart,
The holy tree is growing there;
From joy the holy branches start,
And all the trembling flowers they bear.
The changing colours of its fruit
Have dowered the stars with merry light;
The surety of its hidden root
Has planted quiet in the night;
The shaking of its leafy head
Has given the waves their melody,
And made my lips and music wed,
Murmuring a wizard song for thee.
There the Loves a circle go,
The flaming circle of our days,
Gyring, spiring to and fro
In those great ignorant leafy ways;
Remembering all that shaken hair
And how the winged sandals dart,
Thine eyes grow full of tender care:
Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.

Gaze no more in the bitter glass
The demons, with their subtle guile,
Lift up before us when they pass,
Or only gaze a little while;
For there a fatal image grows
That the stormy night receives,
Roots half hidden under snows,
Broken boughs and blackened leaves.
For all things turn to barrenness
In the dim glass the demons hold,
The glass of outer weariness,
Made when God slept in times of old.
There, through the broken branches, go
The ravens of unresting thought;
Flying, crying, to and fro,
Cruel claw and hungry throat,
Or else they stand and sniff the wind,
And shake their ragged wings; alas!
Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:
Gaze no more in the bitter glass.

"The Two Trees" is reprinted from The Rose. W.B. Yeats. 1893.



Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:04 am
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So what about the ghost? Is the ghost of Colin's mother there in the garden?



Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:34 am
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