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Lecture 15

English 2033E Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Hypochondriasis, Sowerby Family, Western ReligionsPremium

3 pages102 viewsSpring 2018

Department
English
Course Code
English 2033E
Professor
Clarissa Suranyi
Lecture
15

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Unit Fifteen Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
The most subversive and original element of this novel is its heroine: Mary is petulant,
spoiled, ugly, ad asty, yet readers prefer her to other girls i hildre’s lit. There are
several reasons:
Burnett makes it clear that Mary is not to blame for her personality: she was
neglected by her mother and has always been spoiled by servants.
Mary is plaed i situatios that eoke sypathy: she’s the last oe alie he
everyone dies of cholera.
Burett does’t ask us to feel sypathetially toards Mary. The arrator
carefully avoids requesting out sympathy for Mary in any overt way. The
principle behind this technique is that people are more willing to grant sympathy
he they do’t feel pressured to do so.
Mary is flawed in ways we recognize: she takes temper tantrums, she whines
ad sulks: she is the projetio of eery hild’s orst side. But she is ot ruel.
There are signs early on of redeeming characteristics: Mary demonstrates
intellectual curiosity. This novel suggests that a love of reading bodes well for a
hild’s harater. Her iagiatio eerges i her early attepts to preted.
Iroially Mary’s ratty persoality eoes a stregth: she is a ath for Coli
because she is just as spoiled as he is and is not easily intimidated by him. She
a’t get alog ith ie hildre ut eeds her teper to get alog ith Coli.
One reason Mary is so cross is her upbringing. India is portrayed as the opposite of
England
India:
Sickness, disease: Mary is yello fro liig there.
Hot climate makes Mary languid
The snake: harmless but feared
Servile attendants making salaams.
England:
Health: Mary’s health iproes he she attles the id.
Cool climate: bracing, healthy.
The robin: friendly, lonely like Mary.
Frank, back-talking Yorkshire servants.
India is negatively portrayed as physically and spiritually unhealthy for Mary, but a good
deal of what makes it bad is the racial division that leads Mary to think she is better than
the serats. Mary is shoked y Martha’s oldess. I Idia serats ere treated
badly, they did not talk to their masters as equals and were commanded to do things. If
Idia is orally ad psyhologially dagerous to Mary, it’s eause of the rais she
absorbed there.
In England class differences can produce the same effect on children. Martha does Mary
good eause she’s straightforard, ut a etter traied serat ould at differetly.
Burnett connects the issues of race and class; both have a dangerous effect on children,
oiig the that they o the orld. It is Martha’s Yorkshire aers that ake
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