The Secret Garden

I was reading an abridged, child’s version of “The Secret Garden” to my daughter last night. Some symbolism popped out at me that I hadn’t seen before, and I was wondering what you all thought.

The robin as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, or more precisely, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The robin first comes to Mary to get her attention. It is when Mary follows the robin that she finds the key, and then later, with the help of a breeze shifting the vines (again, the Holy Sprit is the breeze, too), she finds the door to the secret garden.

The secret garden as the Kingdom of God. It is there that the children find consolation, and Colin finds healing. For Colin, it is his friends that lead him to the secret garden. He hears them talk about the garden (evangilization) and wants to go there, too.

Dickon is like a St. Francis of Assisi. He is connected with nature and animals.

Mary is a typical person, first selfish, then learning to reach outside herself to help others.

Were these Christian symbolisms intended? Or am I making them up? Does this make any sense?

I don’t know if the symbolism was intended, but that’s one of my all-time favorite books. Thanks for a new way of looking at it. :slight_smile:

I feel like an idiot for not having seen that in the book! But it is this sort of thing that gives the book its timeless appeal. I read it as an adult. Loved it! Thanks for sharing this. I teach 6th grade CCD. I’ll stick this in my filing cabinet, as it might come in handy . . .

I think they were intended. Good eye. In focus on the family’s radio drama of that book (it is excellent—available at there is the scene where Colin sings the doxology—an ancient Christian hymn. So I think you are a good reader to pick up such symbols.
God bless,

I love that book—very cool analysis!

Be careful. The author of the secret Garden was into new age theology, including theosophy (occultic) and new thought. The author was also a Christian Scientist.

See this article.

Mark Wyatt

This is even better.

Mark Wyatt

I don’t know about you guys, but I have never seriously consider non-God-related powers as a holy thing, although they are good.

If explicitly Catholic symbolism is evident, I don’t believe it was the author’s intention, although she was brought up in orthodox Christian teaching, and it might be there unconsciously.

she was a believer in a lot of the spiritualism, Christian science and other movements of the day. Her work more explemplified the Victorian age fascination with topics we call new age today, especially the notion of nature as deity, magic or supernatural powers exhibited by the individual’s own will and action. Arthur Conan Doyle and Kenneth Grahame are examples of authors of the day with a similar view of the spiritual world. that does not negate the value of their books, but their biographies are instructive. her biography (Frances Hodgeson Burnett) is fascinating, a single woman raising kids on her own supported by her writing.

One more thought on the book.

Mr. Craven was in the garden (Kingdom of God) earlier in the story, but he closed himself out because of grief. He was brought back through the children’s “prayers” for him. The power of intercessory prayer.

From your earlier posts about the author, I realize that these symbolisms probably weren’t exactly the author’s intent, but I see what I see. Perhaps God bringing good out of imperfect intentions?

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