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Source: (consider it) Thread: October Book Group: The Secret Garden
Bishops Finger
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A slight tangent, of course, but lots of Saki's stories are delightfully subversive.

Agreed re Archibald Craven. Sad about the tragic death of his wife, but they didn't have bereavement counsellors in those days...

IJ

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Eirenist
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'You can never go home again' is from Bill Bryson, 'The Lost Continent'.

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Brenda Clough
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Aha. With Archibald Craven we move into discussing the work from an adult perspective.

Yes, he's clearly sunk from bereavement and grief into depression. There was however a feeling in the period that this was OK, as long as you didn't have to work for your living -- the great example here is Queen Victoria, who was clearly morbidly depressive after Prince Albert died. People complained that she wasn't doing her queen work, but by and large she was admired for her grief. (If you were a clerk or a laundress you got no slack; you had better get it together and get back to work.)

Was he a bad father? Not ever seeing the kid, yeah that's bad. But Victorians of his class didn't exactly do hands on. The nannies and governesses picked up the work; the proud papa might not see his son but once a day, for half an hour of play before handing the kid back to the staff.

And why was he not seeing the kid? It was by the advice of Dr. Neville Craven. Who, when you analyze it, is a very suspicious character.

[ 18. October 2017, 14:04: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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Bishops Finger
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Suspicious indeed, but would he not have had plenty of chances to make away with Colin, before the wretched Mary appeared on the scene, to foil his nefarious plot?

'Craven', as in fearful, and/or cowardly, might well be an appropriate name...

[Eek!]

I can feel a re-write of the story coming on....

[Help]

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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I see Dr. Craven as an envious but cowardly man. He would dearly like to succeed to the Misselthwaite estate, but (bound by moral strictures or fear) is passive-aggressive about it. He obviously didn't dare to do his older brother in. And he doesn't dare to murder Colin outright. All he can do is to make everybody worse: foster Archibald's antisocial behavior, keep Colin in bed with the curtains drawn. And in both these projects he must be greatly assisted by period medical practices; a steady died of laudanum, wormwood and gruel would undermine the constitution of a giant.

He must be the younger son, become a professional man because the estate and the money are entailed on his older brother. But he would far rather be a gentleman of leisure, clearly a better one than the hunchbacked and depressive Archibald.

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andras
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Craven is of course a good Yorkshire name, but it does seem to match the doctor's character.

In those days a doctor might well have a relatively easy time of it, as often only the well-off could afford his (always his!) services; even the good Dr. Thorne in Barsetshire hardly seems to be working his fingers to the bone.

It's certainly true that parenting in the upper middle class was very hands-off. When I was a lad I knew a lady who'd been nanny to the Gilbey family (of gin fame) round the time in which the book is set, and it was apparently the custom for the children to spend time with Mother just after nursery tea and only for half an hour or so; Father was almost always otherwise occupied. In India the Ayah took the role of the nanny, and everything else stayed much the same.

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Brenda Clough
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We must deduce all this, because the entire story is told from Mary's point of view. She, clearly, has no idea about the entail of estates or the relative status of professional men versus idle gentlemen.

What about Mary's parents? Are they as worthless as they seem?

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Mili

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I was given 'The Secret Garden' by my Aunt when I was 9 for Christmas 1988 and always enjoyed it. But I was a bookworm who read a lot. My copy is a big hardcopy version with a few colour plates and black and white sketches. I always liked classic books with female protagonists and read 'Little Women', L.M. Montgomery's series and sequels and even the 'What Katy Did' series, even though they are quite moralistic.

I liked reading about different places and times and the books made me more interested to learn real history. Plus there were bits that were a bit gruesome/gothic, like the cholera plague and some of Colin's treatments, which weren't in some of the modern books I read a the same age. Although I did read Betsy Byars children's books around that time, which rereading as an adult I realised have some pretty dark themes including stalking and suicide attempts! But this book was much more escapist than another book I read that year I am David both books had happy ending, but 'The Secret Garden' was much happier, with just enough darkness to make it interesting.

I also really liked the garden as it reminded me of my Grandmother's beautiful garden. I've never really got that into gardening, but I did like planting bulbs and seeds and the excitement of seeing the plants and flowers grow.

The parents were definitely pretty neglectful, especially the mother. As a child I never felt particularly sorry for her when she died.

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andras
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I think that in the days of the Raj the military and government people divided into two main types: the time-servers, who were there for the money, and the true 'India hands' who loved the place with a passion and whose selfless devotion to both land and people is too easily forgotten these days.

Mary's parents seem to be the first sort. But then we only see them reflected through Mary's eyes (and the author's comment that her mother was devoted to parties).

But in general the grown-ups aren't drawn as well as the children. Perhaps this isn't actually a flaw, but a reflection of how adults always seem when see through children's eyes.

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BroJames
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From an adult perspective, I suppose there is a contrast between the child-rearing practices of different classes (contrasting the upper unfavourably with the lower), and something about fundamental goodness in children if given half a chance to thrive.
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Bishops Finger
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Mary's parents certainly seem to have been disposed of (by Burnett, and the cholera!) in almost unseemly haste, but I suppose that's in order to concentrate on the child's return to England.

Sorry to harp on about him, but does anyone else find Dickon rather repellent?

Oh, and Mrs. Medlock - perhaps a bit ambivalent in her attitude towards Mary? IIRC, her character in the 1960 BBC series (played by Hilary Mason) was somewhat sharper-tongued than she seems to be in the book.

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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Dickon is interesting as a creation, not a character. He's not a real person. What you are smelling is the odor of the sock puppet, preaching Burnett's sermon. She was vaguely Christian Scientist in her beliefs and had a real mind-over-matter kind of view of illness. And there certainly was something to her notion that if you could only pry people away from the doctors (with their laudanum, mustard plasters and sago gruel) and get them out into the clean air and sunshine on a decent diet many of their illnesses would improve. It would be unkind perhaps to point out that many people would adore to have clean air and a decent diet in the sunshine, and the solution is not Positive Thinking but an income they can live on.

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Bishops Finger
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Well yes, but Dickon still reminds me of Lewis Carroll's crocodile:
quote:
How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!

Mind you, Burnett seems to think that low income is no hindrance to a healthy life, given the flourishing of the Sowerby family on 16/- a week... [Eek!]

IJ

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
From an adult perspective, I suppose there is a contrast between the child-rearing practices of different classes (contrasting the upper unfavourably with the lower), and something about fundamental goodness in children if given half a chance to thrive.

The Lord of the Flies is the antidote to that kind of wishful thinking, isn't it? Though I'd agree that good food, fresh air and a good helping of benign neglect never did youngsters any harm!

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Brenda Clough
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In fact the book is sort of a catalog of conflicting child-rearing practices. Mary is neglected in India and pretty well neglected in Yorkshire. Colin is far over-protected, waited on and continually supervised. Dickon and the siblings are held up as the best kind of upbringing -- a childhood of liberty and then useful work.

I wonder why Dickon isn't working? Martha his sister is. In an era where seven-year-olds could work in the mills he's eminently employable. Instead he's just wandering around the countryside.

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Bishops Finger
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I suspect he might be what used to be referred to as 'half-saved' (it's that bloody grin...sure-fire giveaway).

Were 7-year olds still working at mill in 1911? Surely, by then, child slave labour was on the way out. Still, the question then arises - why isn't he at school? My Old Mum was born in 1912, and attended the village school until she was 14.

As you may have guessed, I Do Not Believe In Dickon.

[Paranoid]

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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Another more depressing scenario: three years from the end of the book, Colin is prepping to go to Eton and Mary is the smartest pupil in her class at the local school. Dickon meanwhile has been obliged (remember the monthly income of the family) to go and work in the coal mines. Immediately he joins the Workers Party to agitate for a better life for the working class...

I know nothing of the climate and soil in Yorkshire. How reasonable is that garden? May we postulate vast loads of manure, to prep the soil, or is it entirely the realm of fantasy?

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I know nothing of the climate and soil in Yorkshire. How reasonable is that garden? May we postulate vast loads of manure, to prep the soil, or is it entirely the realm of fantasy?

Bear in mind that if England were a state in the US it would be the 31st largest state by area (smaller than New York and Louisiana, but larger than Mississipi - yes I did just look that up on wikipedia). But while the climate in Yorkshire is a little colder and wetter than the south east it's not like Florida and Maine. (I assume Florida and Maine have different climates and soils.) The west coast of Britain is noticeably wetter than the east coast, but that's compensated for by many rivers that run east off the watershed to the east.

I am not a gardener. I would assume that a walled formal garden would have had a lot of manure put into it over the years, but there's no reason to think it improbable just because it's in Yorkshire.

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Brenda Clough
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Historically they must have had plenty of horse manure -- no cars.

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Bishops Finger
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Burnett took her inspiration for The Secret Garden from a neglected walled garden at Great Maytham Hall:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Maytham_Hall

The house is in Kent, some way from Yorkshire, but the walls would provide some shelter from unfriendly winds, even in the latter county.

IJ

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Moo

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Mary's parents certainly seem to have been disposed of (by Burnett, and the cholera!) in almost unseemly haste, but I suppose that's in order to concentrate on the child's return to England.

I have a friend who teaches children's literature at a university. She pointed out to me that the children in a good children's book must not have capable loving parents. Otherwise the children would be protected from the kinds of things that make for an enjoyable children's book.

Either the parents are dead or disabled, or the family is dealing with such severe problems that the parents can't take proper care of the kids.

When my daughters were teenagers, they read a book about a girl who is in the process of becoming schizophrenic. Her friends are very concerned; her parents are so wrapped up in their own lives that they refuse to believe anything is wrong. They say their daughter is just trying to make herself important. This book horrified me.

Moo

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Golden Key
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Moo--

Was the book "Lisa Bright & Dark"? Good book, and made into a good TV movie.

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Mary's parents certainly seem to have been disposed of (by Burnett, and the cholera!) in almost unseemly haste, but I suppose that's in order to concentrate on the child's return to England.

I have a friend who teaches children's literature at a university. She pointed out to me that the children in a good children's book must not have capable loving parents. Otherwise the children would be protected from the kinds of things that make for an enjoyable children's book.

Either the parents are dead or disabled, or the family is dealing with such severe problems that the parents can't take proper care of the kids.

Moo

Oh yes, this is a famous literary feature. Nearly all children in literature have absent parents -- the E. Nesbit kids, the Pevensies in Lewis, even Harry Potter and Christopher Robin. Sometimes it's explicit, like Sara Crewe or Peter Pan, and sometimes the pater is in Baghdad and Mother is very very ill. You need your characters to have agency, and if their mom is right there telling them to wrap up warmly dear then where's your agency?

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Marama
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:


I know nothing of the climate and soil in Yorkshire. How reasonable is that garden? May we postulate vast loads of manure, to prep the soil, or is it entirely the realm of fantasy?

While cold (by British, not Canadian standards), Yorkshire is certainly able to sustain gardens. The soil is reasonably fertile, and a walled garden would give protection from the winds. My sister-in-law gardens very successfully not far from the moors, as do these folks

[ 19. October 2017, 23:08: Message edited by: Marama ]

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:

I have a friend who teaches children's literature at a university. She pointed out to me that the children in a good children's book must not have capable loving parents. Otherwise the children would be protected from the kinds of things that make for an enjoyable children's book.

Either the parents are dead or disabled, or the family is dealing with such severe problems that the parents can't take proper care of the kids.

When my daughters were teenagers, they read a book about a girl who is in the process of becoming schizophrenic. Her friends are very concerned; her parents are so wrapped up in their own lives that they refuse to believe anything is wrong. They say their daughter is just trying to make herself important. This book horrified me.

Moo

I think your friend should read more children's literature; while I agree that what she says ia a common trope, there are indeed some excellent and popular children's books in which parents or guardians take a starring role. I instance Danny Champion of the World, and rest my case.

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Marama
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:

I wonder why Dickon isn't working? Martha his sister is. In an era where seven-year-olds could work in the mills he's eminently employable. Instead he's just wandering around the countryside.

The minimum working age in the UK in 1900 was twelve, so yes, he is just employable. But the era of 7 yr olds in factories was long over.

What is interesting is that schooling was compulsory from 5 to 11 by this date, gradually raised to 12 and then 13 (that appears to have been subject to regional variations, so not sure about Yorkshire). There would have been an exemption for home schooling and governesses etc, so I guess that covers Colin, but the younger Sowerbys and Mary should have been in school. But they live in a remote spot, it's not clear where the nearest school is - they may have just slipped through the cracks.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by andras:
I instance Danny Champion of the World, and rest my case.

IIRC Danny's father is a single parent and falls ill at a critical moment in the plot. In other words, it's only an apparent exception.

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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Dickon is interesting as a creation, not a character. He's not a real person. What you are smelling is the odor of the sock puppet, preaching Burnett's sermon. She was vaguely Christian Scientist in her beliefs and had a real mind-over-matter kind of view of illness.

I didn't know that. Very interesting.

Dickon seems to play the role of male lead in the Sowerby household - I can't recall hearing anything about his father - and with his vegetable growing, gardening and no doubt general DIY skills (IKEA self-assembly units, that kind of thing) he may have been regarded as essential to keep at home. He also appears to be an emotional support for his mother - chatting things over with her in the garden, kissing her the way Mary kisses her flowers... He also seems to bridge the generation gap - the adults trust him and the children regard him as one of their own.

I adored the book as a child and reread it regularly. On my last rereading it struck me for the first time how sad it was that the beautiful secret place was now potentially open to being trampled into and over by all the clumsy, non-self-aware adults.

Some years ago I read an absolutely appalling sequel to it, entitled, IIRC, "Misselthwaite, a return to the Secret Garden." I've successfully erased most of it from my memory, but I remember enough to advise you all - Just Don't.

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Nenya
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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
It's the same with all the rubbish written about Narnia. I have spent more than 50 years working with kids and have yet to hear a child independently equating the Christian story with the books.

Sorry to double post. I worked this out for myself when I was around 8 - so, yes, around 50 years ago - and felt I'd been vouchsafed a powerful and fresh revelation. It was deflating - even crushing - to then share it with my mum and have her say, "Yes. Of course."

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Bishops Finger
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Just a quick note re Mr. Sowerby - presumably he's the one out working (in addition to Martha), and earning the 16 shillings per week on which the family chiefly subsists.

IJ

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Bishops Finger
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Yes, Martha mentions him in Chapter 4.

IJ

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andras
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by andras:
I instance Danny Champion of the World, and rest my case.

IIRC Danny's father is a single parent and falls ill at a critical moment in the plot. In other words, it's only an apparent exception.
He breaks his leg in a trap set for poachers and is rescued by Danny, having been absent for perhaps a total of three hours. Otherwise he's there for the whole time and in fact is the main driver of much of the action.

I agree that this sort of hands-on parenting isn't common in children's books, but it does happen.

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Yes, Martha mentions him in Chapter 4.

IJ

I assumed Mr. Sowerby was in the armed forces/in service/otherwise employed in a more urban area. He must be sending money home. And he must come home relatively frequently, otherwise the appearance of all these other little Sowerbys would be problematic.

As to Narnia, Lewis is on record as having planned and desired to express a Christian message in a totally new metaphor. That many people don't see it is actually a good thing, which I am certain he would have enjoyed. It shows he did it really well, with a proper authorial cunning.

[ 20. October 2017, 14:59: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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I'd assumed that the shadowy Mr. Sowerby was working long hours on a neighbouring farm, returning home each night tired out (albeit able to occasionally claim his Conjugal Rights).

Sixteen shillings a week was about the right wage for an agricultural worker in 1911.

IJ

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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BTW, Martha the maid might be on about £16 per annum in 1911 (by which time the number of domestic servants in England was falling, as wages rose, and families found they could not afford so many staff...).

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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There's a curiously large number of people with handicaps in this story. I'm reminded of a short story (no, I cannot remember either title or author) in which the characters did bonsai, which symbolized the work they were doing on each other -- making the partner more beautiful. I am certain Burnett was not thinking this. But what did she mean?

Another question: is there a lot of religious imagery in the book? Not necessarily Christian! This I do think the author intended.

Here, BTW, is an article from the Guardian from 2011, commemorating the 100th year of the books publication.

[ 21. October 2017, 01:04: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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andras
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# 2065

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Well, there's an awful lot about Magic - always with a capital letter - which left me feeling rather cold. I suppose it refers to some kind of mystical life-force, and that the book is a sort of redemption narrative.

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Curiosity killed ...

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# 11770

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There's definitely a lot about magic in that period of writing: l have vague memories of some children using herbs or flowers to become invisible and believing they had achieved this because the adult dinner party all ignored them - possibly from E Nesbit, but I can't remember when or where. (Trying to find that story, I've found lots of references to Nesbit's influence on Tolkien and CS Lewis). It could have come from the House of Arden or WouldbeGood series, both of which I read as a child. (I didn't find the Psammead series until I started reading them to my daughter.)

I first read and reread the Secret Garden as a child and loved Dickon's way with animals and plants, then, and that Colin and Mary could be redeemed. I have since reread the book, including to my daughter when she was younger and found the social history and other details more interesting, including the attitudes of Mary returning from India.

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Moo

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# 107

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I have read the book quite a few times. On my recent re-reading, an idea occurred to me which is not made explicit in the text.

If Colin's mother was so severely injured that she died, she would not have been strong enough to give birth to him. I wonder if he was delivered by C-section after her death. If so, it would explain poor health at the beginning of his life. If he had been sensibly treated, he would probably have grown much stronger, but he wasn't treated sensibly.

Obviously this could not be laid out in detail in a children's book.

Moo

[ 21. October 2017, 11:36: Message edited by: Moo ]

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Jane R
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# 331

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Moo:
quote:
If Colin's mother was so severely injured that she died, she would not have been strong enough to give birth to him.
Maybe nowadays that would be true, but in 1911 it might not have been. I don't know enough about medicine in 1911 to be sure, but it was before the discovery of antibiotics and also before the advent of large-scale vaccination programmes. That might also account for the large number of handicapped people; no defences against polio, etc. Large numbers of people were still dying of measles and TB in the 1930s.

Orthopaedic surgery was less advanced too - if you had a compound fracture of the leg it would probably have been amputated, rather than pinned together again and left to heal. And workplaces were more dangerous; employers did not have the 'duty of care' for the health and safety of their workers that they do now, although to be fair factories were not quite so dangerous then as they were at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

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Moo

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# 107

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Are you saying that you don't believe Colin was delivered by posthumous C-section?

Posthumous C-sections have been common practice for many centuries. Remember,
quote:
Macduff was from his mother's womb
Untimely ripped

Moo

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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Or did poor Mrs. Craven's accident, and injuries, simply bring on a sudden birth, which proved too much for her?

(And was Doctor Craven around at the time? Did she have to die just then, or could she have been saved? And did the evil Doctor hope that the baby would die with her? O, how black a history we are weaving....).

[Paranoid]

IJ

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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I've just realised how I seem to be developing antipathies in respect of various characters.

Is this a sign of my own intellectual weakness, or of Burnett's ability to create interesting people?

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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Aha. This brings us around to a favorite theory of mine, developed with the help of a writer friend who has a son in high school. The school musical in this boy's senior year was The Secret Garden, which forced my friend to sit through many, many performances and also to listen to the score. The son was cast in the role of Archibald Craven, who has (as you would expect) a major singing role.

The father and I agreed that there is something fishy about Lilias Craven's death. As you recall, Dickon says that she was sitting in her secret garden, on the crooked branch of a tree, and it broke and she fell. Although Dickon doesn't say this (and, as a child, may not know), the fall clearly is meant to have precipitated a bad delivery that slew the mother and (possibly) maimed Colin Craven. This tree disaster seems very unlikely, a frantic stretching of coincidence.

Pair this, however, with the very odd behavior of Dr. Craven. Why is he so weird about it? There's more than the lust to possess Misselthaite here; he could easily achieve that by offing Archibald or quietly poisoning Colin. And yet he does not. Furthermore, in the musical an obvious detail is brought forward: Dr. Craven covets not only his brother's estate, but his brother's wife. (There's a nice song articulating this.)

When you line up these fishinesses in a row, and when you are compelled to watch the musical a dozen nights in a row, it all becomes clear. There's a back story, that because the story is told from Mary's point of view, we cannot see. Not only was Dr. Neville Craven in love with his sister-in-law. He was of course her doctor, supervising her pregnancy. At a crucial point in the secret garden he put the moves on her. A double weight on that tree branch, breaking it and injuring her. She, in that noble Victorian way, dies taking the secret of her husband's brother's treachery with her to the grave. Neville, racked with guilt, doctors the son of his beloved, and is wildly ambivalent about Archibald. Neville fosters the unhealthy grief, because Neville isn't allowed to grieve openly. He can never confess, certainly not to Archibald, why Lilias died.
All this stuff, madly boiling under the surface, and Mary walks into the mess.

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Bishops Finger
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Even I, with my deeply suspicious mind, didn't connect the breaking of the tree directly with Dr. Craven, but I believe Brenda may well be right. Such black wickedness, and in a children's book, too!

Lilias' death was murder, and it was only his 'craven' fear of discovery that stayed the Doctor's hand when it came to further killings (the infant Colin, and Archibald).

A cheerful family tale of everyday Yorkshire folk, perhaps, though Hardy would have set it in Wessex, and made it about ten times as long.

[Two face]

IJ

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:

Lilias' death was murder, and it was only his 'craven' fear of discovery that stayed the Doctor's hand when it came to further killings (the infant Colin, and Archibald).


[Two face]

IJ

And that's why it was originally a book for -adults-. We, with our adult understanding, can see what's really happening. The children, even the servants and Mrs. Sowerby, cannot know. The only person who knows what happened in the secret garden (ooh, the double entendres of that phrase) is Dr. Craven. He's keeping his mouth shut hoping against hope that it'll all break his way -- Archie will go mad or commit suicide or simply grieve himself to death, doubtless helped along by some chlorodyne or Warburg's Tincture or perhaps just a lot of gin. (Nobody drinks in this book, because the children don't drink.) Colin, the heir, will be a minor for many years and who shall be his guardian but his dear uncle Neville?

Burnett may have intended for the work to actually be more Agatha Christie-like. The children, restored to health and dragging Archibald back onto the rails, are now ready to attack the real snake in the bosom of the family. But the manuscript was getting long, and better to end on an up note.

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Bishops Finger
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# 5430

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Yes, but I can't help feeling that Hardy would have continued the story by having Archibald go mad, commit suicide, or overindulge in GIN, and then have Dickon fatally bitten by an adder he was trying to befriend.

Dr. Craven would die horribly in a bog, or a railway accident, or by inadvertently swallowing poison.

Mary would marry Colin, only to find out that they were (somehow) brother and sister, resulting in their madness, suicide, imprisonment, or death by GIN or consumption (delete as appropriate).

Ahem. I do apologise for wandering off on a rather Gothic tangent, but, as you say, TSG is indeed a book for adults.

IJ

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Mili

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# 3254

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I read 'The Shuttle' last year and it's far more adult and 'gothic'. A wealthy American girl, Rosalie, marries a member of the British nobility, Nigel Anstruthers, who only marries her for her money, and then has very little contact with her family. Her plucky younger sister Bettina, who never liked Nigel, grows up and goes to visit Rosalie. She finds that Nigel is physically and emotionally abusing her sister and cheating on her with 'low class' women. Their son has a hunchback due to a physical assault perpetrated by his father on his mother when she was pregnant with him. The book is pretty dark. Eventually it has a happy ending, but at one point the younger sister is nearly raped by Nigel who has become obsessed with her.

The book could almost be a prequel to 'The Secret Garden' if the son from 'The Shuttle' had grown up to be Archibald Craven and his mother had been American. It would explain a lot about Archibald. But the son in 'The Shuttle' is called Ughtred Anstruthers!

I wonder why most of Burnett's books were suitable for children, if not written for them, but 'The Shuttle' was so much darker and adult?

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Brenda Clough
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Yeah, she had a thing about hunchbacks, didn't she? But The Shuttle has many things in common with TSG. The outsider female protagonist, arriving into a stultified and problem-filled British environment. Opposition from the local populace, overcome by her stubbornness and drive. Male villain of mysterious motivations. (What was Nigel Anstruthers doing? Surely he could not have believed he could get away with assaulting Bettina.)
Like many authors Burnett had a couple of favorite templates and themes that she kept on returning to.

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Jane R
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# 331

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Moo:
quote:
Are you saying that you don't believe Colin was delivered by posthumous C-section?

Posthumous C-sections have been common practice for many centuries.

No, I am perfectly well aware that posthumous C-section has been around for centuries. Sometimes they didn't even wait until you were dead first. There are ballads about it.

I'm merely pointing out that she could equally well have died from post-partum infection or half a dozen other things that we don't have to worry about any more (at least, not in the developed world) because, science.

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