Read The Secret Garden / A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett Free Online
Book Title: The Secret Garden / A Little Princess|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 35.21 MB
v The author of the book: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Edition: The Reader's Digest Association
Date of issue: 2009
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The Secret Garden / A Little Princess:The secret Garden is probably the most amazing and thought provoking children's book every written. Such a profound insight into the hearts and minds of the main characters Mary, Colin, Dicken etc- a little romanticised perhaps but still amazing.
The story is set in Yorkshire and it starts off with a kind of dark Gothic atmosphere with Mary stuck in this monstrous and spooky house and her only comrade of sorts is the servant girl Martha - Dicken's elder sister. The house at night is filled with all sorts of horrible tormented wailing which Mary bravely follows until she meets her bedridden and hypochondriac cousin Colin, the heir of the great manor house who is certain he is crippled, deformed and destined to die at a young age. He is in fact incredibly neglected by his father who has been mourning for a decade or so over his late wife who dies tragically in the Garden. After that he locks the Garden and closes it forever.
The company of Mary cheers the child up a bit, but it is not until he hears stories of the Secret Garden that Mary has just rediscovered that his interest in life is renewed. Eventually with the help of Martha's little brother Dicken, the Master of animals, plants and all other sorts of enchantment, the Secret Garden is brought to life again and Colin finally has something to live for other than his imaginery hump and other illnesses.
The main theme of the book the Garden itself symbolizes a kind of Paradise Lost that must be regained through the spiritual innocence, love and lifeaffirming Joy of the three children. Dicken is the Nature child in the story, a kind of Pan figure and the symbol of the pure rustic peasant child who, with his ability to charm animals and breathe life back into the soil, works miracles on first Mary who is the Keeper of the Secret Garden and then on Colin - who, as the heir of the Manor itself, is its owner.
A final miracle takes place at the end of the book which although stretching our gullibility as readers to the limit brings about the perfect resolution to the story. It is a lovely plot twist which not only reunites father and son again, but also restores the social order of things left by a ten year old tragedy and the abandonment of the Father's duties as Lord of the Manor.
This book was written towards the end of the 19th century about a time when the social order of England and societies links with Mother Nature and the pastoral idyll of the country life was viewed as sacrosanct - The author lived in a time that had not been devastated by two world wars, the Holocust, Hiroshima and the current trend of globalisation, the digital revolution and the infotainment society.
It is therefore a pretty slow paced book, filled with didactic passages and pretty morals, as well as a gushing Romantic sentimentalism. Even in the time it was written it is clear that the novel looks back to a Golden Age where the servants, villagers and their leige Lord were meant to live in a social harmony of bliss and harmony based on a set hierarchical structure ordained by God himself. It is also clear that it draws upon the old Renaissance idea of Mother Nature as being God's second book of revelation and instruction (the first book being the Bible). As such Nature is viewed in a totally non-Dawinistic sense. Instead of being Red in tooth and claw, Nature is both a guide and teacher as well as a benevolent and nurturing Mother - She is the Faery Queen of the New Eden which awakens at the touch of those like Dicken, Mary and Colin who see her with pure vision.
Dicken of course is the High Priest of this Eden, he is an archetypal Pan figure, the go-between for Mother Nature and the Fallen Adam and Eve of her world, Colin and Mary. When he connects them both back to their original link to her, the two are totally enthralled and awaken not only to the Secret Garden around them, but also the Secret Garden inside their own hearts and souls.
Colin and Mary both call this mystical awakening to Nature's Wisdom, White Magic and when he discovers its amazing healing powers, Colin vows that he will write books on the mystery of this magical force inside him and the Secret Garden. When the world learns of this Magic and Knowledge then all its problems and misery will disappear and the Paradise that existed at the morning of the world will be regained. This is a very odd idea for us in our time, but you have to remember that in those days Milton's Paradise Lost, along with Tennyson's Idylls of the King were two of the most important and influential books in the period. So the idea of regaining the Lost Paradise of Eden was not out of the question for people of the 19th century!
The film I think that was based on the book I thought was also amazingly beautiful.
There was a second book written Back to the Secret Garden, based on the first. But this book was written post WW II and the age of England's innocence along with the mystique of her Gardens was no longer there anymore was it?
Five stars for the Secret Garden - three stars for its sequel.
Review by Manfred
Heavily Rewritten 19-1-2017
Really like the whole India thing thats in it as well. Mary originally lived in India before she came to the Manor, so she brings some of the old stories and ideas from India which she learnt from her Ayah or Nurse there. Along with her meeting Dicken and finding the Garden, the stories from India help inspire her belief and Philosophy of White Magic.
Read information about the authorFrances Eliza Hodgson was the daughter of ironmonger Edwin Hodgson, who died three years after her birth, and his wife Eliza Boond. She was educated at The Select Seminary for Young Ladies and Gentleman until the age of fifteen, at which point the family ironmongery, then being run by her mother, failed, and the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. Here Hodgson began to write, in order to supplement the family income, assuming full responsibility for the family upon the death of her mother, in 1870. In 1872 she married Dr. Swan Burnett, with whom she had two sons, Lionel and Vivian. The marriage was dissolved in 1898. In 1900 Burnett married actor Stephen Townsend until 1902 when they got divorced. Following her great success as a novelist, playwright, and children's author, Burnett maintained homes in both England and America, traveling back and forth quite frequently. She died in her Long Island, New York home, in 1924.
Primarily remembered today for her trio of classic children's novels - Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), A Little Princess (1905), and The Secret Garden (1911) - Burnett was also a popular adult novelist, in her own day, publishing romantic stories such as The Making of a Marchioness (1901) for older readers.
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