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ConnieAnnKirk
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Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

For those of you who would like to discuss the book as you read.  Please avoid posting about the plot any later than Chapter 14.
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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debbook
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

I love this part of the book- this is where Mary really starts to " bloom ".  Her excitement over discovering the garden and working with the flowers almost makes me ( a non-gardener ) want to go plant flowers. We finally meet Dickon and Colin. Very ironic how similiar Colin is to the "old" Mary and how she deals with him. As someone mentioned in another thread about the connection with FHB and New Thought philosophy, I guess we start to see that as Colin "forgets" how sick he is in his excitement about Mary and the possiblity of a Secret Garden.
 
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



debbook wrote:
I love this part of the book- this is where Mary really starts to " bloom ".  Her excitement over discovering the garden and working with the flowers almost makes me ( a non-gardener ) want to go plant flowers. We finally meet Dickon and Colin. Very ironic how similiar Colin is to the "old" Mary and how she deals with him. As someone mentioned in another thread about the connection with FHB and New Thought philosophy, I guess we start to see that as Colin "forgets" how sick he is in his excitement about Mary and the possiblity of a Secret Garden.
 


I had to laugh at this part. All the children I know and have been familiar with wouldn't even reconize themselves as acting even similiar to Colin, but Mary does. I was shocked she verbally admitted that she was like Colin at times.At the time of the story, I am sure the rich families, maybe some of them, were known to act this way but basically at that time, families were large and no one had time for a spoiled brat.
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



kiakar wrote:


debbook wrote:
I love this part of the book- this is where Mary really starts to " bloom ".  Her excitement over discovering the garden and working with the flowers almost makes me ( a non-gardener ) want to go plant flowers. We finally meet Dickon and Colin. Very ironic how similiar Colin is to the "old" Mary and how she deals with him. As someone mentioned in another thread about the connection with FHB and New Thought philosophy, I guess we start to see that as Colin "forgets" how sick he is in his excitement about Mary and the possiblity of a Secret Garden.
 


I had to laugh at this part. All the children I know and have been familiar with wouldn't even reconize themselves as acting even similiar to Colin, but Mary does. I was shocked she verbally admitted that she was like Colin at times.At the time of the story, I am sure the rich families, maybe some of them, were known to act this way but basically at that time, families were large and no one had time for a spoiled brat.



And I had another thought. Look at the difference in Dickon and Colin and Mary also. We may have compassion for the poor and so did people of that generation but the children come out the stronger when they are not spoiled and have to help shell out for their supper. Of course, back then, it was what status you were according to how you were respected not how you took care of yourself or others.
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Everyman
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

Once again, my memory of the book proves to have been totally faulty. I had no memory that the first meeting with Colin was so peaceful, friendly, and supportive. I don't want to spoil the book by talking about later scenes involving Colin, but it was those that stuck in my memory as the initial meeting between Mary and Colin.

Now I want to read on to see how Burnett develops this relationship, since obviously I don't recall it well.
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Prunesquallor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎07-11-2008
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

This is my first reading of "The Secret Garden," though many years ago I do think I saw one movie/ TV version or another. I am favourably impressed with the smooth flowing nature of the prose, and must say that for a "child's" book, it is refreshingly adult-minded in its presentation.

After reading the first eight chapters, I'm wondering at this point if others have noticed the apparent "identification" that I think exists between Mary and the Secret Garden? Is FHB deliberately using the Garden itself as a metaphor for Mary (and vice-versa). They are both of the same general age (as Mary remarks herself); and are equally similar in their conditions of "abandonment," neglected wild growth, and secretive isolation. It seems that as Mary's knowledge of the Secret Garden grows -- at first obtained by cautiously exploring the mere perimeters of the place -- she is (in a parallel fashion) gradually learning about herself in that same cautious, halting, circuitous manner? I think in Victorian times, the metaphor of the human as a garden, requiring proper cultivation, was a fairly common trope?
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

Excellent point. Yes, I think it's pretty clear that Burnett is using the garden not only as a tool for Mary to mature and be turned from wild into healthy civilized, but also as a parallel to her, as you point out. And look for more of this as you get further into the novel, but I won't say any more so as not to be a spoiler.

Prunesquallor wrote:
This is my first reading of "The Secret Garden," though many years ago I do think I saw one movie/ TV version or another. I am favourably impressed with the smooth flowing nature of the prose, and must say that for a "child's" book, it is refreshingly adult-minded in its presentation.

After reading the first eight chapters, I'm wondering at this point if others have noticed the apparent "identification" that I think exists between Mary and the Secret Garden? Is FHB deliberately using the Garden itself as a metaphor for Mary (and vice-versa). They are both of the same general age (as Mary remarks herself); and are equally similar in their conditions of "abandonment," neglected wild growth, and secretive isolation. It seems that as Mary's knowledge of the Secret Garden grows -- at first obtained by cautiously exploring the mere perimeters of the place -- she is (in a parallel fashion) gradually learning about herself in that same cautious, halting, circuitous manner? I think in Victorian times, the metaphor of the human as a garden, requiring proper cultivation, was a fairly common trope?


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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



Everyman wrote:
Excellent point. Yes, I think it's pretty clear that Burnett is using the garden not only as a tool for Mary to mature and be turned from wild into healthy civilized, but also as a parallel to her, as you point out. And look for more of this as you get further into the novel, but I won't say any more so as not to be a spoiler.

Prunesquallor wrote:
This is my first reading of "The Secret Garden," though many years ago I do think I saw one movie/ TV version or another. I am favourably impressed with the smooth flowing nature of the prose, and must say that for a "child's" book, it is refreshingly adult-minded in its presentation.

After reading the first eight chapters, I'm wondering at this point if others have noticed the apparent "identification" that I think exists between Mary and the Secret Garden? Is FHB deliberately using the Garden itself as a metaphor for Mary (and vice-versa). They are both of the same general age (as Mary remarks herself); and are equally similar in their conditions of "abandonment," neglected wild growth, and secretive isolation. It seems that as Mary's knowledge of the Secret Garden grows -- at first obtained by cautiously exploring the mere perimeters of the place -- she is (in a parallel fashion) gradually learning about herself in that same cautious, halting, circuitous manner? I think in Victorian times, the metaphor of the human as a garden, requiring proper cultivation, was a fairly common trope?





This is all so true!   A garden grows with nuturing, sometimes alot and sometimes you can find love withnot alot of nuturing, such as the roses that came back regardless of the lack of care.  And they learned sacrifice also, that love has to be worked on.  Like so many in this group, I love gardens also. And once you work in them, you then see the results, and it makes you so proud. That is love also.
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travelighter
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



Prunesquallor wrote:
They are both of the same general age (as Mary remarks herself); I think in Victorian times, the metaphor of the human as a garden, requiring proper cultivation, was a fairly common trope?





Two very nice reflections. I had missed that Mary and the garden were the same age. The Victorian metaphor for human as garden is excellent, too. Thank you.
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travelighter
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

As an elementary school teacher, I have been thinking about Mary not being able to entertain herself without toys. I love the way Martha tells her to just go outside and play with sticks. So many of my second grade students do not seem to understand about using their imaginations. When asked what they did over the week-end, most reply that they played video games. I ask if they read a book, build with legos, rolled clay, played outside, but the usual answer is, "No, I just played video games."

We need more children making mudpies or building tents under blankets. I love the way Mary discovers how to play.
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Prunesquallor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎07-11-2008
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

[ Edited ]

travelighter wrote:
As an elementary school teacher, I have been thinking about Mary not being able to entertain herself without toys. I love the way Martha tells her to just go outside and play with sticks. So many of my second grade students do not seem to understand about using their imaginations. When asked what they did over the week-end, most reply that they played video games. I ask if they read a book, build with legos, rolled clay, played outside, but the usual answer is, "No, I just played video games."

We need more children making mudpies or building tents under blankets. I love the way Mary discovers how to play.




A Child who does not play?

" 'I don't play," said Mary. 'I have nothing to play with.' 'Nothin' to play with!' exclaimed Martha. 'Our children plays with sticks and stones. They just runs about an' shouts an'looks at things.' Mary did not shout, but she looked at things. There was nothing else to do." (Chpt. V pp 27-28)

Hi, Travelighter. Yeah, I had not thought about this, but I would expect a child deprived of normal intercourse and without "toys," would have created an imaginary world fairly easily. Without the latest "store-bought" impedimenta of childhood, one usually picks up locally available objects (sticks, stones, scraps of paper) and does just as good a job with these "primitive" toys as with the industrially-machined products. But, from the descriptions in the first few chapters, Mary does not "play" at all, does she? Well, maybe FHB is overstating this situation a bit, as we DO see in Mary a "normal-child" using her imagination in "play" early in the tale:

"There was something mysterious in the air that morning. Nothing was done in its regular order and several of the native servants seemed missing, while those whom Mary saw slunk or hurried about with ashy and scared faces. But no one would tell her anything and her Ayah did not come. She was actually left alone as the morning went on, and at last she wandered out into the garden and began to play by herself under a tree near the veranda. She pretended that she was making a flower-bed, and she stuck big scarlet hibiscus blossoms into little heaps of earth, all the time growing more and more angry and muttering to herself the things she would say and the names she would call Saidie when she returned." (chpt one, p. 3)

Is this an inconsistency? Mary (apparently) DOES have the ability to "play," to engage her own imagination in the creation of a fanciful garden. But later in the story (chpt. 5), this seems to be forgotten, and Mary is depicted more as being without the ability to play. But, I think we are meant to overlook such "lapses" of narration, and in general see Mary as an exceptionally flawed, stunted individual. Her sole engagement (if we disregard the imaginary garden she created in India) seems to be with the stories her Ayah told her. Is there something "wrong" with Mary herself? Apparently not, as Mary soon approaches a "cure" in the salubrious climate of the Yorkshire Moors. I think, in addition to the Victorian race concepts, there may also be an attempt to explain Mary's lack of normal imagination/ play, through an appeal to "climatic determinism," another favorite device of Victorian explanation. This uncharacteristic lassitude of Mary's, her lack of the common ability to "play," seems partly (in FHB's explanation) to be a factor of the weather in hot/ steamy India. Now that Mary is exposed to the Yorkshire climate, her innate British creativity and curiosity come back online: "In India she had always felt hot and too languid to care much about anything. The fact was that the fresh wind from the moor had begun to blow the cobwebs out of her young brain and to waken her up a little." (Chpt. V, p. 29)

Perhaps we have here an expression of the once common belief that a given people develop best in their own native environment? Just as garden plants become sickly when transported outside their natal climes, Mary, in India, lost much of her vitality -- but, returned to England, she begins to recover, she starts to "play."

Message Edited by Prunesquallor on 07-13-2008 03:17 PM
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



travelighter wrote:
As an elementary school teacher, I have been thinking about Mary not being able to entertain herself without toys. I love the way Martha tells her to just go outside and play with sticks. So many of my second grade students do not seem to understand about using their imaginations. When asked what they did over the week-end, most reply that they played video games. I ask if they read a book, build with legos, rolled clay, played outside, but the usual answer is, "No, I just played video games."

We need more children making mudpies or building tents under blankets. I love the way Mary discovers how to play.


Maybe its best Mary didnt do that, make mudpies anyway, I use to get in serious trouble with doing that when I was a child. Ha! The mudpies my mom didn't mind, but the mud on the clothes. ugh! She didn't have the amazing Tide I guess.
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emmajane
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Registered: ‎06-03-2008
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)

Hello everyone,

Dickon is my favorite. Colin is not really someone I like. Although I do like Mary even though she is like Colin. I can't wait to see how these relationships develop.
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kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)



emmajane wrote:
Hello everyone,

Dickon is my favorite. Colin is not really someone I like. Although I do like Mary even though she is like Colin. I can't wait to see how these relationships develop.


Yes, Emmajane, Dickon is a easy like, isn't he?  In real life, we do not see that as well as when we are reading. It is so easy to love someone like Dickon, but when you have to struggle thru rough road, as with Colin and Mary, its so hard and they need the love alot more than Dickon. But you know, that is how life is. Something worthwhile is so much harder than the easy side. I think this is why its such a good children's book. Children can understand why children like Colin and Mary really need and want love alot more than Dickon that is so easy to like and love.
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travelighter
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎07-02-2008
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Re: Chapter by Chapter: 7 - 14 (No Spoilers, Please!)


kiakar wrote:
I think this is why its such a good children's book. Children can understand why children like Colin and Mary really need and want love alot more than Dickon that is so easy to like and love.




This is such a good point and one that I, as an elementary teacher, will find useful if I decide to use this book with students. Sometimes friendships, like gardens, that have to be nurtured and coaxed into beauty are more rewarding than those that are just naturally easy.
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