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ConnieAnnKirk
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The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

Some literary critics have compared the secret garden to the Garden of Eden.  Does that comparison work or not work for you?  Does it provide any insights into the characters or the novel's themes?
~ConnieAnnKirk




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kiakar
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)



ConnieK wrote:
Some literary critics have compared the secret garden to the Garden of Eden.  Does that comparison work or not work for you?  Does it provide any insights into the characters or the novel's themes?



I do not know if they compare or not. God provided the Garden of Eden with all that was needed to obstain life. With the Secret Garden, it still had some elements to  enhance growth but needed care to make it come fully alive and ripened to full statue.
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Everyman
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

A garden is a garden, but beyond that, no, I don't see the comparison.

1. Inhabitants of GoE were perfect when put into the garden and fell while there; inhabitants of SG were flawed while outside garden, improved through being in garden.

2. No serpent in SG.

3. Adults vs. children.

4. In SG, started in world, came into garden. In GoE, started in garden, went out into world.

5. GoE was open to start with, closed off after fall. SG was closed off to begin with, opened after discovery.

6. Children in SG not seeking knowledge of good and evil, just living.

Basically, the themes of the two are totally opposite.

Maybe I don't get the point of your post, though; when you said "compared," maybe you meant "contrasted"?


ConnieK wrote:
Some literary critics have compared the secret garden to the Garden of Eden.  Does that comparison work or not work for you?  Does it provide any insights into the characters or the novel's themes?



_______________
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Peppermill
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

[ Edited ]
Here's one of the commentaries of the type to which Connie's question undoubtedly refers, this one from Penguin Reading Guide. Compare or contrast? You call it.

"While The Secret Garden is an exquisite children's story, its timeless themes, precisely drawn characters, and taut narrative make it worthy of the serious discussion due any classic novel. It is a tale of redemption, rich with biblical symbolism and mythical associations. In Mr. Craven, his stern brother, and Mary's parents, readers have found evidence of a fallen adult world. Consequently, Mary and Colin are physically and spiritually malnourished, and, in the words of Burnett, down-right rude. Mr. Craven's redemption at the hands of Colin and his niece ensures the return of good rule to the ancient, gloomy house and of health to the children. Dickon—constantly surrounded by fox, lamb, and bird—evokes St. Francis or Pan. His mother, Mrs. Sowerby, a plain-speaking Yorkshire woman, resembles the archetypal earth mother and embodies an ancient folk wisdom seen neither in Craven nor in Mary's deceased parents. Invoking traditional nature myths, Burnett aligns the spiritual growth of Mary and Colin with the seasons. Mary arrives at Misselthwaite in winter a dour and unhealthy child. She begins her gardening in the spring, and as crocuses and daffodils push up through the warming earth, her body begins to bloom and her manners to soften. Summer sees the complete regeneration of both Mary and Colin, and by the time Craven returns to Misselthwaite in autumn, the children are harvesting the fruits of their labor—health and happiness. Finally, the overarching symbol of the book is the secret garden, a lost paradise of love and happiness—a version, perhaps, of the Garden of Eden, now reclaimed and rejuvenated."

PSS -- Here are the Sparknotes comments and viewpoint on the topic.

Somehow, "Garden of Eden" can so easily become a trope.

However, some links for fun and surprising(?) linkages:

metaphors of self and psyche -- See section on The Secret Garden

Pure Ariki (the link to Sendak surprised me)

The Writer in the Garden -- has some specific references to Burnett (Enchanted Gardens), but explore some of the other links as well (Paradise Remade).

Message Edited by Peppermill on 07-17-2008 04:13 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

Peppermill--I won't call that "cheating," (ha) but what do YOU think about the Eden question?  (and, likewise, what do other club members think as well?).  Since you posted the commentary, do you agree or disagree with its observations?

 

I'd have to know more about Burnett's biography to comment one way or the other, I think.

 

~ConnieK

 


Peppermill wrote:
Here's one of the commentaries of the type to which Connie's question undoubtedly refers, this one from Penguin Reading Guide. Compare or contrast? You call it.

~ConnieAnnKirk




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Peppermill
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

[ Edited ]

ConnieK wrote:

Peppermill--I won't call that "cheating," (ha) but what do YOU think about the Eden question? (and, likewise, what do other club members think as well?). Since you posted the commentary, do you agree or disagree with its observations?

 

I'd have to know more about Burnett's biography to comment one way or the other, I think.

 

~ConnieK

 


Connie -- I think my "opinion" is here: "Somehow, 'Garden of Eden' can so easily become a trope."

 

For me, things like this are less a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, but rather of seeing from as many perspectives as possible and simply enjoying the diversity and richness of those perspectives. That's why I liked the comparison with Where the Wild Things Are and enjoyed Eman's comments since I know how highly he values Paradise Lost.

 

Am I avoiding taking a stand? Perhaps, but I haven't spent that much time or effort immersed in either The Secret Garden or Burnett's life to have a firm view. Certainly Biblical allusions seem probable -- now whether they are valid is another equally interesting discussion. Do we need an "answer"?

 

Pepper

Message Edited by Peppermill on 07-18-2008 04:37 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: The Garden of Eden? (Warning: Spoilers)

 


Peppermill wrote:

Connie -- I think my "opinion" is here: "Somehow, 'Garden of Eden' can so easily become a trope."

 

For me, things like this are less a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, but rather of seeing from as many perspectives as possible and simply enjoying the diversity and richness of those perspectives. That's why I liked the comparison with Where the Wild Things Are and enjoyed Eman's comments since I know how highly he values Paradise Lost.

 

Am I avoiding taking a stand? Perhaps, but I haven't spent that much time or effort immersed in either The Secret Garden or Burnett's life to have a firm view. Certainly Biblical allusions seem probable -- now whether they are valid is another equally interesting discussion. Do we need an "answer"?

 

Pepper

 

*****

 

Thanks for your perspective, Peppermill!

 

~ConnieK

 

~ConnieAnnKirk




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