ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Nurturing the Soul: An Analysis of "The Secret Garden"

Updated on January 15, 2017
Source

Have you seen "The Secret Garden" (1993)?

See results

The film The Secret Garden is an adaptation of the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The central characters are children who learn valuable lessons about life through getting to know each other. The main character, Mary Lennox (Kate Maberly) is a lonely girl whose parents have abandoned her as much before the earthquake in her homeland of India as they do now that they're deceased. She is relocated to live with her uncle at his mansion in England. There, she finds out she has a cousin named Colin, and reveals family secrets neither of them knew.

Mary Lennox

A common mistake parents make is having a "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude toward their children; unfortunately, children do not learn like that. Mary's parents ignored her to go to parties. This was so common that even after her parents' death, Mary dreams of being in her aunt's garden as a little girl and her mother leaving. Her parents' lifestyle causes Mary to lack the ability for emotional expression; therefore, she doesn't cry or know how to make friends. Since she was taken care of by her parents' employees she doesn't know how to take care of herself. It isn't until she moves to England that she becomes independent and capable of feeling emotion.

"My parents didn't want me. My mother cared only to go to parties. And my father was busy with his military duties. I was never allowed to go to the parties."

Mary

Mrs. Medlock

Like Mary's biological mother, Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith) isn't particularly maternal; she's controlling. She tells Mary, the staff, and even her boss' son, Colin, what to do. She doesn't see Mary as a child in need, but just another responsibility because she is already overworked. She doesn't trust children; therefore, she tells Mary to stay in her room or stay outside at specified times. She can't handle unexpected schedule conflicts or doubt in her caretaking methods. She can only work from what she knows; therefore, she is overly concerned about Colin for fear of losing her job; however, Lord Craven sees that she has been preventing his son from getting well; therefore, it is her overbearing nature that leads to her retirement.

"What did they do with you in India? Carry you around in a basket?"

Mrs. Medlock

Martha Sowerby (Laura Crossley) cares for Mary which in turn teaches Mary to care for herself. Martha's insistence for Mary to relax and have fun changes Mary's outlook on life. She learns not to take everything so seriously. Mary seems frustrated with Martha because she has never been given so much attention nor been played with in a loving way, before. Martha's maternal personality gives Mary permission to be a child, and to learn how to care for herself. It also inspires her to do the same for the garden and teach Colin to become independent.

"I thought all girls like to be tickled."

Martha

Colin Craven (Heydon Prowse) has a similar childhood as Mary. He hasn't had attention from his parents; however, in his case, his mother's death has kept his father in constant depression and it hurts him to see son. Colin is bedridden and like Mary, he doesn't know how to take care of himself. His presumed illnesses keep him from getting emotionally close with anyone which makes it easier for him to stay away from people, completely. Mary convinces him to let go, and take risks such as leaving the mansion. It is through his experience of knowing Mary and being outside that he realizes he isn't sick at all. It's clear he has been suffering from weak muscles and hypochondria.

"I'm not as selfish as you are! Just because I'm always ill!"

Colin

Dickon Sowerby (Andrew Knott) teaches Mary how to care for the earth. He is used to caring for himself and the planet. Mary is deceived by the dark look of the plants during the winter, but he knows the garden is still alive. He shows Mary how to plant flowers. This knowledge teaches her that she can heal herself and others. It is through her friendship with Dickon that Mary matures and moves on from her troubled childhood.

Source

"It's full of life."

Dickon

Lord Archibald Craven (John Lynch) will see Mary, but not his own son, Colin. His wife's death has caused him a decade of grief. He's afraid to see his son, but Mary brings them together by reopening the garden. Lord Craven gives Mary permission to plant seeds; however, he feels he has to leave to escape the spring. Mary, Colin and Dickon summon Lord Craven through a dream that convinces him to return to see the garden and find his son.

"You brought us back to life, Mary. You did something I thought no one could do."

Lord Craven

Source

The garden is a character in itself. In the beginning of the film, it is abandoned and appears to be lifeless. It isn't until Mary is captivated with its mystery that it's renewed by being replanted and cared for. It represents the other characters. Throughout the winter, everyone is unhappy and secluded. Once the spring comes and the garden is regrown the characters are together and happy. The garden's new state represents the rebirth of the characters who have all been in their own individual pain for the past ten years.

"The spell was broken. My uncle learned to laugh, and I learned to cry. The secret garden is always open now. Open, and awake, and alive. If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."

Mary

© 2014 social thoughts

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • social thoughts profile imageAUTHOR

    social thoughts 

    4 years ago from New Jersey

    I'm glad you love her, too! I wrote an analysis paper on "A Little Princess" the story for a lit class in college. I have the dvd which has both films. I recommend the combo dvd to any fan. :)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I read this book...saw the movie...and loved both. How could one not love the messages about life sprinkled throughout?

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)