The Secret Garden

Isolated from Reality College

Hidden away from everything and everyone, one can begin to know little more than the sense of neglect. This situation is seen throughout Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, which brings up the idea of being alone prevents the feelings of being rejected by those around us. Neglected from birth, Mary engages her surroundings in a defensive manner to prevent rejection, as is shown through the bungalow in India, the empty rooms in Misselthwaite Manor, and the Secret Garden.

There are various instances when Mary uses her surroundings to shield herself from the neglect that she has endured since birth. Secluded from the outside world, the bungalow in India is all that Mary has known of for the first nine years of her life. One morning, when Mary awakes and sees someone other than her Ayah, she immediately becomes defensive and states, “‘Why did you come?’ she said to the strange woman. ‘I will not let you stay. Send my Ayah to me.’” (2) This line demonstrates Mary’s self-assertion, and how she refuses to let anyone in emotionally. She is also very quick to question and demand the woman in a very forceful tone, almost as if she is proclaiming a form of dominance. Considering Mary has become accustomed to isolation, when...

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