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Lecture 15

English 2033E Lecture 15: Unit 15
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3 Pages
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Spring 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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Description
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, and nasty, yet readers prefer her to other girls in childrens 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 placed in situations that evoke sympathy: shes the last one alive when everyone dies of cholera. Burnett doesnt ask us to feel sympathetically towards Mary. The narrator 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 when they dont feel pressured to do so. Mary is flawed in ways we recognize: she takes temper tantrums, she whines and sulks: she is the projection of every childs worst side. But she is not cruel. There are signs early on of redeeming characteristics: Mary demonstrates intellectual curiosity. This novel suggests that a love of reading bodes well for a childs character. Her imagination emerges in her early attempts to pretend. Ironically Marys bratty personality becomes a strength: she is a match for Colin because she is just as spoiled as he is and is not easily intimidated by him. She cant get along with nice children but needs her temper to get along with Colin. One reason Mary is so cross is her upbringing. India is portrayed as the opposite of England India: Sickness, disease: Mary is yellow from living there. Hot climate makes Mary languid The snake: harmless but feared Servile attendants making salaams. England: Health: Marys health improves when she battles the wind. 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 servants. Mary is shocked by Marthas boldness. In India servants were treated badly, they did not talk to their masters as equals and were commanded to do things. If India is morally and psychologically dangerous to Mary, its because of the racism she absorbed there. In England class differences can produce the same effect on children. Martha does Mary good because shes straightforward, but a better trained servant would act differently. Burnett connects the issues of race and class; both have a dangerous effect on children, convincing them that they own the world. It is Marthas Yorkshire manners that make
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