Slow-Read Sunday: The Secret Garden (to the END)

We’ve previously discussed The Secret Garden to Chapter VII; to Chapter XIV; to Chapter XVII and to Chapter XXII.

Today, we’ll finish discussing the novel.

1. Colin’s transformation.

The second half of the book, and in particular the last part of the book, is Colin’s story. Mary is by his side, but we are all witnesses to his transformation and it’s his future we hear discussed most often. Do you think that’s fair to Mary? Did you expect the novel to end the way it did? What of Mary’s future?

2. When people always get their way they become ____________.

Colin has been pampered his entire life. Mary can recognize this and the impact it’s had on him. p. 234. What are some of the dangers of getting everything you want?

3. Nature as a cathedral.

Around p.241 The Garden becomes something like a cathedral. The descriptive phrases used in this section have the children sitting cross-legged in “sort of a temple.” The characters sing hymns and chant until they can sway. p. 242. You probably noticed numerous other allusions to religion. What is the author suggesting here? What do you think the relationship between God, Nature, and Religion are in the novel?

4. Exercise.

What role does exercise play in Colin’s recovery? Does the mental transformation precede the physical? Are they tied together? p. 257.

5. The first paragraph of Chapter XXVII. p. 281.

The first paragraph of Chapter XXVII is a bit like the author’s closing argument or summation, isn’t it? It is a celebration of growth through knowledge and discovery. It is a celebration of the power of the mind. It is also the expression of the author’s desire that we learn more about how our minds work in the coming centuries. Do you think the author would be pleased to see the results of the past centuries’ accomplishments? Have we made progress in this area that matches Colin’s and Mary’s progress in the novel? If society as a whole hasn’t lived up to this transformation have there been individuals that have? What will another hundred years bring?

6. How are we like Colin and Mary, even as adults? What can we do to transform our own lives?

Thanks to Amarie for suggesting our June read. It was my first time to read the book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Slow-Read Sunday has been an interesting experiment. I certainly find it enriching to participate in, but I always debate whether I’m using my time with the site in the most effective way. I’m engaged in some of that inner-debate now and I haven’t decided whether to keep going with Slow-Read Sunday. I have decided to take July to contemplate whether I’ll continue and, if so, whether the format will change. There will be no Slow-Read Sunday in July, but I’m sure something will hold its place until I decide its future. Thanks to each of that read and participated and I hope at least one of you has gotten something out it.

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