I read The Secret Garden when I was eleven and I kept re-reading it every summer for the next three years. Then I couldn't understand what made me do that. But now I realize that the only word that I can think of and that illustrates my attitude towards this book is Magic.
The way the story fascinated me during all these years of my childhood probably has lost some of its effect but the magic that I found for myself is still intact . The story that seems a little bit simple and not so influential for an adult becomes one of the most significant part of one's childhood.And that is the approach that I would like to undertake. Probably it will appear to be a bit childish and subjective, and not so thorough and critical but I can't do that with the book that dressed in words not only for me the magnificent power of nature and friendship. The garden itself, described so realistically and with so vivid colours and shapes that you could even smell and see the flowers and the trees, in some way symbolizes the whole idea of childhood and why not-life.As Jean-Jacques Rousseau said the child should be given a garden to cultivate and he described the child itself as a young plant to be carefully tended.
But why is this particular garden so magical? What makes it so special compared to other gardens? Is it in the trees, the ground, the plants, the birds that we have to look for the wand that heals, enchants, brings love and understanding and above all happiness in a life that used to seem meaningless and miserable? No, we don't have to look for it literally. The point is to feel it, to experience it in your mind, to let nature awake your soul and open your eyes.In this course of thoughts the word that comes to your mind and describes the magical power that you experience while reading the book is Hope. Hope is what the characters in the book will find not only in the garden, that is their catalyser, but most importantly in themselves and each other in a time when all of them need it desperately.
Mary's mother neglects her for social gaieties and then, along with Mary's father, dies in a cholera epidemic, all in the book's first chapter; Colin's mother died when he was born. Archibald Craven is incapacitated by his excessive grief and avoids both Colin and Mary.When Mary arrives at Misselthwaite Manor, she learns about the garden from the first caregiver to offer her psychological as well as physical nurture, the servant Martha. In the first part of the book, Mary is still a child who needs mothering, especially because she is too "independent" and "self-contained" (Keyser ); psychologically unconnected to others, she is also detached from her own feelings. Mary then learns more about the garden-and herself-from the gardener Ben Weatherstaff and from the robin, which eventually points her to the garden's buried key and hidden door.
Once Mary is inside the garden, Martha's brother Dickon helps her prune and plant with tools and seeds she had arranged to have him buy for her. Finally, Mary and later Colin are assisted by Martha and Dickon. Mother Sowerby- that "comfortable wonderful mother creature" who has birthed and reared twelve children of her own (250; ch. 24)-sends Mary a jump rope, and she later sends both Mary and Colin nourishing food to provide energy for their garden work.
Working largely behind the scenes on their behalf, this archetypal earth mother eventually appears in the garden to praise what the children have done.The final chapter, "In the Garden," describes Archibald Craven's return as a reprise of the earlier, more fully dramatized experiences of Colin and Mary. Without his knowing it, the garden had been at work within the father while it had worked within the son; he began to feel its "awakening" power while gazing at a forget-me-not on the same day Colin first entered the garden and declared, "I am going to live forever"As he makes the trip home, Craven acknowledges that, in his earlier anger that "the child was alive and the mother was dead," "he had not felt like a father at all" (289; ch. 7). Perhaps aware that he needs to learn how to nurture, he stops at Mother Sowerby's cottage; she is away helping a woman with a new baby, but he recognizes, apparently for the first time, that the Sowerby children are "a healthy likable lot," and he gives them "a golden sovereign" (291; ch. 27).
Craven must learn also to receive, however, if he is to give of himself as well as of his money. Still an isolate as Mary was at the beginning of the book, he must retrace her steps. After a brief visit to the manor, feeling "on earth again," Craven takes "his way, as Mary had done, through the door in the shrubbery and among the laurels and the fountain beds" to the garden (293; ch. 27).