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The Secret Garden: Chapters 22, 23 and 24

#59: Dec. - Jan. 2009 (Fiction)
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Chris OConnor
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The Secret Garden: Chapters 22, 23 and 24

Please use this thread for discussing Chapters 22, 23 and 24 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 22 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/22/

Chapter 23 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/23/

Chapter 24 http://www.online-literature.com/burnet ... garden/24/
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giselle
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"The Magic is in me!" he kept saying. "The Magic is making me strong! I can feel it! I can feel it!"

It seemed very certain that something was upholding and uplifting him. He sat on the seats in the alcoves, and once or twice he sat down on the grass and several times he paused in the path and leaned on Dickon, but he would not give up until he had gone all round the garden. When he returned to the canopy tree his cheeks were flushed and he looked triumphant.

"I did it! The Magic worked!" he cried. "That is my first scientific discovery.".
Colin's theme of 'scientific discovery' in connection with the Magic brings us to an interesting point where the idea of science and magic, which to me sounds unscientific, come together. By science I think Colin means enquiry into how things work but I find the notion of magic as part of science intriguing. He wants to know what is holding him up and he wants a scientific solution but by coining it Magic he is placing it into the world of alchemy and other science/magic ideas.
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giselle
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The role of the robin in this book continues to evolve. Chap 25 begins with the narrative form the robin's perspective ..
"The first moment he set his dew-black eye on Dickon he knew he was not a stranger but a sort of robin without beak or feathers".
Increasingly it seems Dickon and the robin act as a bridge between the human world and the animal world, as translators or interpreters for the others. This seems to parallel the reconnection between Colin and his mother, as we later see him draw back the curtain that hides his mothers picture.
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realiz
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science and magic
The Magic is gradually woven into almost everything. The magic is in the milk (or the sending of it), the laughter, the wonderful secret, in chanting positive thoughts (scientifically), the exercise, and the magic is found in the Doxology relating the magic to God, or saying that they are one in the same.
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Thomas Hood
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giselle wrote:Colin's theme of 'scientific discovery' in connection with the Magic brings us to an interesting point where the idea of science and magic, which to me sounds unscientific, come together. By science I think Colin means enquiry into how things work but I find the notion of magic as part of science intriguing. He wants to know what is holding him up and he wants a scientific solution but by coining it Magic he is placing it into the world of alchemy and other science/magic ideas.
Just like Donne's "A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy's Day." I am now reading in graphology and astrology, most of whose practioners want their studies to be scientific. It's a constant refrain -- as if something couldn't be of value unless it's scientific.

Tom
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giselle
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yes, this is what I was on about ... our world (and possibly Burnett's world) seems to be dominated by so-called scientific thinking that wants to eliminate all traces of "magic" and emotion and feeling and religious belief and other things judged unscientific ... that's why i like Colin's blend of science and magic. he recognizes a place for magic and science, side by side. our world would be awfully dull without this sort of thing ... another form of magic we might want to consider:
Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alchemy

Alchemy (Arabic: الخيمياء al-kimia), a part of the Occult Tradition, is both a philosophy and a practice with an aim of achieving ultimate wisdom as well as immortality, involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties.

The best-known goals of the alchemists were the transmutation of common metals into gold (called chrysopoeia) or silver (less well known is plant alchemy, or "spagyric"); the creation of a "panacea", or the elixir of life, a remedy that supposedly would cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely; and the discovery of a universal solvent.[2

Many early alchemists, such as Zosimos of Panopolis, viewed alchemy as a spiritual discipline, and in the Middle Ages, metaphysical aspects increasingly came to be viewed as the true foundation of the art. Organic and inorganic chemical substances, physical states, and molecular material processes as mere metaphors for spiritual entities, spiritual states and ultimately, transformations.

In this sense, the literal meanings of 'Alchemical Formulas' were a blind, hiding their true spiritual philosophy, which being at odds with the Medieval Christian Church was a necessity that could have otherwise lead them to the "stake and rack" of the Inquisition under charges of heresy
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Magic or not, I'm enjoying seeing Colin come along, the same way Mary did.

It's snowing and blowing out there this morning - Toronto's getting caught up in that storm up from Colorado.

I'm going to finish this book up, then go back to my audio files on War and Peace.

Hope y'all are inside, safe and warm.
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Alchemy (Arabic: الخيمياء al-kimia), a part of the Occult Tradition, is both a philosophy and a practice with an aim of achieving ultimate wisdom as well as immortality
How interesting! This would speak to the fact that Colin keeps saying that he is going to live forever. Did anyone get a Mother/Virgin Mary parallel with Susan Sowerby? After the children sing the Doxology she enters in a blue cloak.
She had come in with the last line of their song and she had stood still listening and looking at them. With the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she was rather like a softly colored illustration in one of Colin's books. She had wonderful affectionate eyes which seemed to take everything in--all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the "creatures" and every flower that was in bloom.
Her entrance seems so saintly and Mother Mary like.
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seespotrun2008 wrote:Did anyone get a Mother/Virgin Mary parallel with Susan Sowerby? After the children sing the Doxology she enters in a blue cloak.
She had come in with the last line of their song and she had stood still listening and looking at them. With the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she was rather like a softly colored illustration in one of Colin's books. She had wonderful affectionate eyes which seemed to take everything in--all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the "creatures" and every flower that was in bloom.
Her entrance seems so saintly and Mother Mary like.
Again, Susan is discussed at length before this epiphany, like Dickon. It is a nice dramatic device, building anticipation for the entry of a key symbolic presence with a dazzling parabolic range of symbolic meanings. You are right about the blue cloak of the queen of heaven, but Susan is no virgin, more a gaian earth mother.
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Thomas Hood
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seespotrun2008 wrote:Did anyone get a Mother/Virgin Mary parallel with Susan Sowerby?
I took her as a Mother Nature, which I think Mother Mary also is.
Henry David Thoreau wrote: 5.16 I have occasional visits in the long winter evenings, when the snow falls fast and the wind howls in the wood, from an old settler and original proprietor, who is reported to have dug Walden Pond, and stoned it, and fringed it with pine woods; who tells me stories of old time and of new eternity; and between us we manage to pass a cheerful evening with social mirth and pleasant views of things, even without apples or cider -- a most wise and humorous friend, whom I love much, who keeps himself more secret than ever did Goffe or Whalley; and though he is thought to be dead, none can show where he is buried. An elderly dame, too, dwells in my neighborhood, invisible to most persons, in whose odorous herb garden I love to stroll sometimes, gathering simples and listening to her fables; for she has a genius of unequalled fertility, and her memory runs back farther than mythology, and she can tell me the original of every fable, and on what fact every one is founded, for the incidents occurred when she was young. A ruddy and lusty old dame, who delights in all weathers and seasons, and is likely to outlive all her children yet.

5.17 The indescribable innocence and beneficence of Nature -- of sun and wind and rain, of summer and winter -- such health, such cheer, they afford forever! and such sympathy have they ever with our race, that all Nature would be affected, and the sun's brightness fade, and the winds would sigh humanely, and the clouds rain tears, and the woods shed their leaves and put on mourning in midsummer, if any man should ever for a just cause grieve. Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?
Tom
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seespotrun2008
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You are right about the blue cloak of the queen of heaven, but Susan is no virgin, more a gaian earth mother.

Yes. She definitely seems like a gaian earth mother.
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:clap:
Dr. Craven had been waiting some time at the house when they returned to it. He had indeed begun to wonder if it might not be wise to send some one out to explore the garden paths. When Colin was brought back to his room the poor man looked him over seriously.

"You should not have stayed so long," he said. "You must not overexert yourself."

"I am not tired at all," said Colin. "It has made me well. Tomorrow I am going out in the morning as well as in the afternoon."

"I am not sure that I can allow it," answered Dr. Craven. "I am afraid it would not be wise."

"It would not be wise to try to stop me," said Colin quite seriously. "I am going."

I love how Colin questions his doctor, and decides against following his demands. It is one of my favorite parts in the book. It is also amazing to me the wisdom of the children, giving Colin his own physical therapy. Although I don't know for certain, I would assume that questioning a doctor in those times would be unthinkable.
The Secret Garden is on of my favorite books, I read it once every year.
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Ophelia
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Hello farmgirlshelley, welcome to Booktalk! :smile:
Ophelia.
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Thank you for this great gem from Thoreau, Tom. I seriously considered changing my signature quote to it:
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?
:D

The magic in this book is the primal magic, the feeling of belonging in nature and of nature, having a "like to like" correspondence with elements in the natural world.

Not for the first time, I want to put in a pitch for people to read Stephen Harrod Buhner's The Lost Language of Plants, which I think is a poetically and intelligently written explanation of why we should consider more traditional ways of living and healing than the ones we currently are investing in (with profuse apologies to my sister who does hi-tech medical research. I agree with Buhner anyway.)
"Where can I find a man who has forgotten the words so that I can talk with him?"
-- Chuang-Tzu (c. 200 B.C.E.)
as quoted by Robert A. Burton
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I like the fact that the garden is all overgrown and the children, being children, don't make it tidy, they just clear away and make it possible for the flowers and shrubs which are already there, to blossom.

We plant the seeds and make it possible for them to grow. But something else makes them grow. Something else makes our hearts beat and 'breathes' us. The wonderful thing about gardening is that we are co-operating with this something else.
Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini
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