The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden and the Path to Physical and Emotional Wellbeing 12th Grade

In The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a young girl discovers the importance of the relationship between humans and the natural world. At the start of the novel the orphaned and contrary Mary Lennox is brought from her home in India to her mysterious Uncle Archibald’s manor in England. It is there on the moor and in a secret locked garden that Mary begins to heal her mind and body. In the process she exorcises the demons of Misselthwaite manor and betters the lives of its inhabitants. In this paper I argue The Secret Garden claims that human’s emotional and physical wellbeing is inextricably tied to their relationship with the natural world. Positive relationships cause health and good temperament while negative relationships cause illness and bad temperament. This claim is evident in the dichotomy between Dickon Sowerby and Mrs. Medlock and in the healing process of Mary Lennox and Colin Craven. Ben Weatherstaff and Archibald Craven, however, divert from this pattern. Despite their positive relationship to nature, they are portrayed as ill and bad tempered. This seeming contradiction in fact only qualifies the initial claim by contributing the idea that a second factor is also necessary for a person’s physically...

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