The Secret Garden

by

Frances Hodgson Burnett

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The Secret Garden: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When Mary wakes up, she eats some of the lunch that Mrs. Medlock purchased and watches the rain stream down the windows. She falls asleep again and wakes when Mrs. Medlock shakes her at their destination. Mrs. Medlock makes small talk with the stationmaster in what Mary learns is "broad Yorkshire," the local dialect, and then leads Mary to the carriage. Mary looks out the window, hoping to see this new place. She suddenly asks what a moor is. Mrs. Medlock tells Mary to look out the window soon, as they have to drive across Missel Moore. Once out of the village, Mary can only see some low bushes in the darkness, which Mrs. Medlock says is the moor. She says it's wild land where heather grows and ponies and sheep live. Mary says it sounds like the sea, which Mrs. Medlock explains is the wind through the bushes.
Again, the fact that Mary is starting to ask questions and offer her own assessment about the moor shows that even after less than 24 hours in England, England is already changing her for the better. The sense of anxiety that Mary seems to feel about the moor, especially when she compares it to the sea, reminds the reader that Mary isn't yet used to the natural world and its sounds. While it later will become the thing that gives her life, at this point, it's something scary that threatens to upend everything she knows about her world.
Themes
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Mary decides she doesn't like the moor as the drive goes on and on. Finally, the carriage goes through gates and then up a long driveway. She sees one corner room with the lights on, but everything else is dark. Once inside the huge entrance hall, Mary feels small and lost. Mr. Pitcher tells Mrs. Medlock to take Mary straight to her room, as Mr. Craven is going to London in the morning and isn't to be disturbed. At this, Mrs. Medlock leads Mary upstairs and into a room with a fire and supper set out. She tells Mary to stay in this room and the adjoining one.
The lack of life and lights on at Misselthwaite creates a sense of foreboding, while Mr. Craven's unwillingness to welcome Mary in person suggests that like Mary's birth parents, he's not going to be an involved figure in Mary's life. All of this suggests to Mary that life here is going to be just as lonely as her life in India was, even though it's different.
Themes
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon