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Francis Burnett, "Secret Garden": description, summary and reviews
Francis Burnett, "Secret Garden": description, summary and reviews

The Secret Garden by Francis Burnett is a timeless classic that opens the door to the innermost corners of the heart, leaving a generation of readers with fond memories of magic for a lifetime.

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everyone said she was the most obnoxious-looking child ever seen…

So begins the famous story of one of the world's most beloved children's books. It was first published in 1911. This is a gripping story about a lonely little girl who is orphaned and sent to a Yorkshire mansion on the edge of a vast lonely swamp. At first, she was frightened by this gloomy place, but with the help of a local boy, Dickon, who has earned the trust of the wild animals of the swamp with his honesty and love, an invalid Colin, a spoiled, unhappy boy who is frightened by life, and a mysterious abandoned garden, Maria eventually solves the mystery of life itself.

About the Author Frances Burnett

Frances Burnett was born November 24, 1849 in Manchester,England, in the family of Edwin Hodgson and Eliza Bond. Her father ran a prosperous firm that specialized in the arts and crafts trade for home interiors. At the time, Manchester was experiencing a textile boom that flooded the city with a growing middle class, and as these families built splendid homes, Hodgson's goods were in demand. The Hodgson family's prosperity was interrupted in 1854 when Edwin suffered a stroke. Even more devastating to the family fortune was the American Civil War, which cut off the supply of cotton from southern plantations, hurting Manchester's economy.

Francis Burnett

Moving to America

Eliza Hodgson decided to emigrate to America, and in 1865, when Frances was 16 years old, the family settled in a small town 25 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee. This move will help develop Burnett as a writer. Although she had always been obsessed with storytelling and often amused her classmates by inventing tales of adventure and romance, the financial stress of emigrating led her to turn to writing as a means of supplementing her family's income. The transition from industrial England to rural America was a journey for the family into a green, natural world that would become a central theme in many of Burnett's later works (and The Secret Garden as well).

The creativity of the writer

The first published story by Burnett, "The Engagement of Miss Carruthers", appeared in Lady Godey's Book in 1868. Afterher mother's death in 1872, the family became increasingly dependent on her writing income. She accelerated her career as a popular writer and sold stories to many magazines. In September 1873, she married Swann Burnett, a doctor from Tennessee who was preparing to specialize in eye and ear medicine. He wanted to continue his studies in Europe, and Burnett financed his desire, once again becoming responsible for most of her family's income. In 1874 she gave birth to a son, Lionel, and began work on her first major novel, The Lass o' Lowries. The critical response was encouraging, with many reviews comparing Burnett's novel to the work of Charlotte Brontë and Henry James. In 1879 she published Haworth, her first attempt at serious fiction. Later that year, one of her first childhood stories appeared in St. Nicholas, the magazine she would publish in for years to come. It was during this time that Burnett, who was constantly battling illness, was introduced to the philosophies of Spiritualism, Theosophy, Mind Healing, and Christian Science. The ideas of these philosophies about the healing power of the mind have become a decisive motif in many of her works, especially in The Little Princess, The Secret Garden and The Lost Prince.

Image"Secret Garden" book

Popularity and change

In 1886 "Little Lord Fauntleroy" was published, a book that changed Burnett's life. It became a bestseller in America and England. Although the success of the book was determined by Francisas a popular and romantic writer rather than a serious man of letters, he provided her with enough income to free her from her unhappy marriage and allow her to travel around Europe. In 1890, Burnett's first son Lionel was diagnosed with consumption and died the same year. By 1898, Frances was divorcing her husband and renting a country house in England, where she immersed herself in her passion for gardening. The estate was surrounded by several walled gardens, one of which, a rose garden, served as her outdoor workroom. It was here that the idea for The Secret Garden was born.

"The Secret Garden" - a book by Frances Burnett

During her life, Burnett wrote more than 40 books for both adults and children. While her adult novels are considered highly sentimental, her children's books have weathered the fickle literary fashion. The Secret Garden, the story of Mary Lennox and her friends gaining independence by tending their garden, has been called one of the most enjoyable children's books ever written.

Book edition

Although Burnett's Secret Garden is now cataloged in children's literature, it was first published in an adult magazine and then published in its entirety in 1911.

Book contents

In order to understand the meaning of this once-popular children's work, a summary of The Secret Garden by Francis Burnett should be handed over.

Image"Secret Garden" children's book

The book tells the story of Mary Lennox, a lonely girl raised in India but sent to live on her uncle's estate in Yorkshire after her parents' death. A cholera epidemic ravaged the Indian village in which she was born, killing not only Mary's parents but also Aya, the Indian servant who cared for her. Loneliness was not something new for the girl. Her society mother didn't have time for Mary between endless parties, and her father was too ill and too busy with his job to raise his daughter.

The girl's uncle, Mr. Craven, who traveled frequently, kept Mary at his place to avoid the memory of his late wife. The only person who has time for Mary is the maid in her uncle's house, Martha. It is she who tells the girl about the walls of Mrs. Craven's garden, which was closed and locked after her death. Mary is intrigued by the prospect of a forgotten garden, and her quest to learn the garden's secrets leads her to discover other secrets hidden within the estate. These discoveries, combined with the incredible friendships she makes, help Mary come out of her shell and find a new fascination with the world around her.

Francis Burnett (Author)

Mary meets Martha's maid's brother Deacon, a tough country boy fed by his mother's love and the nature of the countryside, and her tyrannical cousin Colin, whose mother died giving birth to him. Mr. Craven was so traumatized by the sudden death of his beloved wife that he actually abandoned baby Colin and hid the keys tothe garden she loved. His son grew up to be a self-loathing hypochondriac whose tantrums strike fear into the hearts of the servants. The lush garden was overgrown and no one was allowed to enter it. No one could even remember where the door was until the robin grafted Maria into the hidden key. It is in the "secret garden" with the help of Deacon that Mary and Colleen find their way to physical and spiritual he alth. As the story progresses, the three children discover that their imagination, which Colin calls "magic", has the power to change lives.

What the book is about

Russian version

Burnett's The Secret Garden is an exquisite children's story, but its timeless themes, finely drawn characters and narrative make it worthy of serious discussion. It is a story of redemption, rich in biblical symbolism and mythical associations. In Mr. Craven, his strict brother, and Mary's parents, readers have found evidence of a fallen adult world. Mary and Colin are "malnourished" physically and spiritually. Mr. Craven's redemption at the hands of Colin and his niece ensures the return of the children's he alth and good government to the ancient, gloomy home. Deacon, constantly surrounded by a fox, a lamb and a bird, summons St. Francis. His mother, Mrs. Sowerby, an outspoken Yorkshire woman, is like the archetypal Earth mother and embodies ancient folk wisdom that neither Craven nor Mary's deceased parents had.

Using traditional myths about nature, Burnett links Mary and Colin's spiritual growth to the seasons. Mary comes toMisselthwaite is a gloomy and unhe althy child in winter. In the spring, she begins gardening, and when crocuses and daffodils break through the warming earth, her body begins to bloom and her manner softens. The summer sees a complete rebirth of both Mary and Colin, and by the time Craven returns to Misselthwaite in the fall, the children are harvesting the fruits of their labor-he alth and happiness. Finally, the book's all-encompassing symbol is the mysterious garden, the lost paradise of love and happiness - perhaps a revised and updated version of the Garden of Eden.

In The Secret Garden, Burnett seamlessly weaves the elements of his craft, moving seamlessly between challenging storytelling and dialogue, and threads of dramatic development, complex characters, theme and symbolism. Indeed, it is this extraordinary balance that makes the book not only "one of the most original and vibrant children's books of this century," as Alison Lurie says in her introduction to Penguin Classics of the Twentieth Century, but also a unique novel of ideas.

Reviews of the book "The Secret Garden" by Burnett

Readers evaluate the book mostly positively. Many call it the best work in their lives. It makes you try to predict how events will unfold further, to learn valuable life lessons. The story remains in the memory of readers for a long time.

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