The Secret Garden

by

Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Dickon is Martha's twelve-year-old brother. He spends most of his time out on the moor, enjoying the fresh air and befriending animals, especially abandoned baby animals that he then tames. Martha begins talking to Mary about Dickon long before Mary meets him, and she becomes entranced by the idea of him as he's so different from her. She finally meets Dickon when he comes to bring her the gardening tools and seeds that she asked for. She initially describes him as somewhat unattractive, with ruddy cheeks, an upturned nose, and red hair. However, as she gets to know Dickon better and comes to admire his way with animals, she finds these physical qualities attractive. Indeed, Martha and Mrs. Sowerby discuss that Dickon's upturned nose is like a rabbit's—constantly sniffing and wiggling to smell the moor—and after spending more time with him, both Mary and Colin begin to do the same thing. Dickon is a good, strong, and trustworthy boy who's a fixture among the locals, which is why Dr. Craven agrees to let Dickon push Colin's wheelchair out in the garden. In the garden, he acts as Colin's guardian and offers him his arm as they walk laps. He participates fully as Colin comes up with his spiritual system of Magic and shows Mary and Colin how to properly garden and care for plants. In the robin's narration, he mentions that Dickon speaks the robin language, thereby confirming Dickon's intimate relationship with the natural world. While Dickon is friends with the robin, he also often brings along other tame animals, including Captain, a fox; Soot, a crow; and Nut and Shell, two squirrels.

Dickon Quotes in The Secret Garden

The The Secret Garden quotes below are all either spoken by Dickon or refer to Dickon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of The Secret Garden published in 2010.
Chapter 4 Quotes

Mary had never possessed an animal pet of her own and had always thought she should like no one. So she began to feel a slight interest in Dickon, and as she had never before been interested in any one but herself, it was the dawning of a healthy sentiment.

Related Characters: Mary Lennox , Dickon, Martha
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

"I wonder," staring at her reflectively, "what Dickon would think of thee?"

"He wouldn't like me," said Mary in her stiff, cold little way. "No one does."

Martha looked reflective again.

"How does tha' like thysel'?" she inquired, really quite as if she were curious to know.

"Not at all—really," she answered. "But I never thought of that before."

Related Characters: Mary Lennox (speaker), Martha (speaker), Dickon
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

She walked away, slowly thinking. She had begun to like the garden just as she had begun to like the robin and Dickon and Martha's mother. She was beginning to like Martha, too. This seemed a good many people to like—when you were not used to liking.

Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

"Could you keep a secret, if I told you one? It's a great secret. I don't know what I should do if any one found it out. I believe I should die!" She said the last sentence quite fiercely.

Related Characters: Mary Lennox (speaker), Dickon
Related Symbols: The Secret Garden
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Then Mary did a strange thing. She learned forward and asked him a question she had never dreamed of asking any one before. And she tried to ask it in Yorkshire because that was his language, and in India a native was always pleased if you knew his speech.

"Does tha' like me?" she said.

Related Characters: Mary Lennox (speaker), Dickon
Related Symbols: The Secret Garden
Page Number: 132
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

"He's been lying in his room so long and he's always been so afraid of his back that it has made him queer," said Mary. "He knows a good many things out of books but he doesn't know anything else. He says he has been to ill to notice things and he hates going out of doors and hates gardens and gardeners. But he likes to hear about this garden because it is a secret."

Related Characters: Mary Lennox (speaker), Colin Craven, Dickon
Related Symbols: The Secret Garden
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

"You'll get plenty of fresh air, won't you?" said Mary.

"I'm going to get nothing else," he answered. "I've seen the spring now and I'm going to see the summer. I'm going to see everything grow here. I'm going to grow here myself."

Related Characters: Mary Lennox (speaker), Colin Craven (speaker), Dickon
Related Symbols: The Secret Garden
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

And this was not half of the Magic. The fact that he had really once stood on his feet had set Colin thinking tremendously and when Mary told him of the spell she had worked he was excited and approved of it greatly. He talked of it constantly.

"Of course there must be lots of Magic in the world," he said wisely one day, "but people don't know what it is like or how to make it. Perhaps the beginning is just to say nice things are going to happen until you make them happen. I am going to try and experiment."

Related Characters: Colin Craven (speaker), Mary Lennox , Dickon, Ben Weatherstaff
Page Number: 284
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26 Quotes

"You are just what I—what I wanted," he said. "I wish you were my mother—as well as Dickon's!"

All at once Susan Sowerby bent down and drew him with her warm arms close against the bosom under the blue cloak—as if he had been Dickon's brother. The quick mist swept over her eyes.

"Eh! Dear lad!" she said. "Thy own mother's in this 'ere very garden, I do believe. She couldna' keep out of it. Thy father mun come back to thee—he mun!"

Related Characters: Colin Craven (speaker), Susan Sowerby / Mother (speaker), Mary Lennox , Dickon
Related Symbols: The Secret Garden, Roses
Page Number: 336
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Secret Garden LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Secret Garden PDF

Dickon Character Timeline in The Secret Garden

The timeline below shows where the character Dickon appears in The Secret Garden. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...interested in what Martha says about her eleven siblings, her parents' poverty, and her brother Dickon, who tamed a moor pony. This intrigues Mary, as she's always wanted a pet. When... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
...her and is perplexed when Martha says she'll have to go alone. Martha talks about Dickon, who plays alone on the moor for hours and befriends animals. This makes Mary want... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...is surprised at how pleasant her voice is and says it sounds almost like how Dickon speaks to his animals. (full context)
Chapter 6
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...on days like this, and Martha explains that some kids play in the cowshed, while Dickon goes outside rain or shine. She says that he's rescued half-drowned foxes and crows on... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...likes Martha's mother, even though she's never met her. She says that she also likes Dickon and Martha wonders out loud if Dickon would like Mary. Coldly, Mary says that he... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...ago. She also thinks that she likes the garden, just like she likes the robin, Dickon, Martha, and Mother. (full context)
Chapter 8
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...that next time she goes home, she'll have more to tell them. Mary asks if Dickon and Mother liked hearing about her. Dickon apparently was intrigued like the rest, but Mother... (full context)
Chapter 9
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...that they're bulbs and lists some flowers that come from bulbs. She also mentions that Dickon grows bulbs and can make anything grow by whispering to it. Anxiously, Mary asks if... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...a weekly allowance. Eagerly, Martha asks Mary if she can write: if Mary writes to Dickon and sends money, she can ask him to purchase tools and seeds on her behalf.... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Martha explains that Dickon will bring the purchases to Misselthwaite himself, which again excites Mary—she finds his love of... (full context)
Chapter 10
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...He slowly stands and when he's upright, the animals calmly disperse. He introduces himself as Dickon and says that one has to move slowly and gently around wild animals. Mary shyly... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Mary wishes she could talk like Dickon, as he sounds like he likes her. She notices that he smells fresh too and... (full context)
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Dickon offers to plant the seeds for Mary. Mary is silent for a moment, turns red... (full context)
Chapter 11
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Dickon looks around and then starts to walk around the garden. He eventually says that he... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Dickon says that this garden is the best thing for Mary and notes that the smell... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Mary remembers the rhyme that Basil sang at her to tease her. She asks Dickon about flowers that look like bells and recites "Mistress Mary" to him. Frowning, she says... (full context)
Chapter 12
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Mary races back to her room and excitedly tells Martha that she's been with Dickon and thinks he's beautiful. Martha is confused and says that she's never thought of Dickon... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...Mr. Craven is nice, just miserable. She races back to the garden and discovers that Dickon is gone. However, she finds a paper stuck to a tree with a picture of... (full context)
Chapter 14
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...Colin just spoke to Martha, and then she says that Colin is very different from Dickon. Mary tells Colin about Dickon's way with animals and how he loves the moor. Colin... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...the doctor insisted that if Colin wanted to live, he would. Mary suggests that meeting Dickon, who speaks only about living things, might put Colin in the mood to live. She... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Mary and Colin spend hours talking about Dickon, the moor, and Mrs. Sowerby's twelve children. They giggle like normal children, and after a... (full context)
Chapter 15
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...Colin's dislike of people looking at him will mean that he won't want to meet Dickon, so she asks Colin one day why he gets angry when people look at him.... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...the secret garden, Mary sees a crow on the wall. Inside the garden she finds Dickon working, and he says that he woke up early and ran all the way here.... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Dickon shows Mary some blooming crocuses and she kisses them. They run all around the garden... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
To distract themselves from looking at the robin, Mary tells Dickon about Colin. Dickon looks surprised and then relieved that he doesn't have to pretend he... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...that Colin spends his time waiting for a lump to grow on his back, which Dickon insists is an awful way to live. He points out how green the garden is... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Dickon agrees that he could push Colin's wheelchair and then points to the robin. He whistles... (full context)
Chapter 16
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...looks afraid, but Mary isn't scared. She runs back out after dinner, and she and Dickon spend the afternoon working. Soot and Captain busy themselves, and the robin continues to build... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...and asks why Mary never came. She explains that she was in the garden with Dickon. (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Colin says that he's going to ban Dickon from the manor if Mary chooses him over Colin, which makes Mary very angry. She... (full context)
Chapter 17
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
...towards Mary and she takes it. He says he'd like to go outside and meet Dickon and his creatures. The nurse makes Colin's bed, gives the children tea, and then tells... (full context)
Chapter 18
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
In the garden, Dickon introduces Mary to two squirrels, Nut and Shell, who ride in his pockets. Mary tells... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...Colin asks what she smells like, she tells him in broad Yorkshire about sitting with Dickon and the animals in the sunshine. It does make Colin laugh, and Mary joins him.... (full context)
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Colin touches Mary and apologizes for threatening to send Dickon away. He says he wouldn't mind it if Dickon looked at him. Colin sees Mary's... (full context)
Chapter 19
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
When Dr. Craven hears that Dickon is the one who will push Colin's wheelchair, he visibly relaxes. He laughs at Mary... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
...open the window and instructs Colin to lie down and breathe deeply. She says that Dickon thinks that doing so will make him live forever, which intrigues Colin. Mary tells him... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
When Colin and Mary receive their breakfast, Colin imperiously tells his nurse that Dickon and his creatures are going to visit and are to be brought right to him... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
About ten minutes later, Colin and Mary hear Dickon's animals in the hallway. Martha shows Dickon in, accompanied by Soot, Captain, Nut, Shell, and... (full context)
Chapter 20
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...next week is rainy and Colin catches a cold, but he remains in good spirits. Dickon visits daily to talk about what's happening on the moor and to tell Colin and... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Upon entering, Mr. Roach is a bit surprised to see Dickon and a variety of animals sitting with Colin and Mary. Colin looks Mr. Roach over... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Dickon returns to the garden, while Mary stays with Colin. During lunch, she notices that his... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...by insisting on going. A footman carries Colin downstairs, arranges him in his wheelchair, and Dickon begins to push the chair outside. Colin looks at the sky and breathes in deep... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
...and where Ben Weatherstaff works—and then, she steps into the bed, opens the door, and Dickon pushes the chair into the secret garden. Colin gasps happily and looks at all the... (full context)
Chapter 21
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Dickon is struck by how beautiful Colin looks in the garden, and Mary and Colin speak... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...that it looks dead, though it's covered with roses. Colin notices a broken branch, but Dickon turns his attention to the robin, who has something in his beak for his mate.... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Colin, Mary, and Dickon watch the robin for a few minutes and then, Colin tells Mary to go ask... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
A while later, Colin points and anxiously asks who the man is. Dickon and Mary turn around and see Ben Weatherstaff glaring at them over the wall. He... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Colin and Dickon both say that Colin is just fine, which makes Ben Weatherstaff burst into tears. Colin... (full context)
Chapter 22
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Colin sends Mary to meet Ben Weatherstaff at the door and then asks Dickon to help him to a tree so he can lean on it. They discuss that... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Colin grabs Mary's abandoned trowel and starts to scratch at the ground. Dickon, Mary, and Ben Weatherstaff watch with interest and after a minute, Colin remarks in broad... (full context)
Chapter 23
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Dr. Craven is relieved when Mary, Colin, and Dickon return. When Colin announces that he's going out in the morning and in the afternoon... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
In the following months the Magic seems real as Dickon, Mary, Colin, and Ben Weatherstaff watch the garden come to life. Flowers bloom, and Ben... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
...morning, Colin summons Ben Weatherstaff and tells him that he wants him to stand with Dickon and Mary and listen to him speak about important things. Colin declares that he's going... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Dickon looks curious and delighted and tells Colin that he thinks the experiment will work. He... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Mary, Dickon, and Colin lead the way, with Ben Weatherstaff and the creatures following. They move slowly... (full context)
Chapter 24
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Whenever Dickon isn't working in the secret garden, he's working in his own garden at home. After... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
Mrs. Sowerby laughs again at this and says that in the mornings, she'll send Dickon with a pail of milk and fresh bread so Colin and Mary can keep their... (full context)
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...wonderful that he and Mary can't resist eating all of it. The first morning that Dickon brings bread and milk, Colin is beside himself with joy and declares that there's Magic... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Secrets and Independence Theme Icon
...everyone in his Magic ceremony, walks around the garden, and tries new experiments. One morning, Dickon returns from a few days away and explains he ran into Bob Haworth, a champion... (full context)
Chapter 25
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...know how precious they are, though at first, the robin anxiously monitors Colin and Mary. Dickon speaks robin so he's nothing to worry about, but the robin is wary of the... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
The robin watches Colin eventually start to move like Dickon and Mary, which is comforting, but all of them perform strange movements and actions every... (full context)
Chapter 26
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
A bit later, Colin stands upright and shouts for Mary and Dickon to look at him. He says that he suddenly realized he's well. He announces that... (full context)
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...Colin looks across the garden. A woman lets herself in through the garden door and Dickon explains that it's his mother, Mrs. Sowerby. All three children run to her and Colin... (full context)
Chapter 27
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
...with bad thoughts, she was ugly and yellow. As she learned about the robin and Dickon, she got better. Colin experienced the same thing; he was never going to get well... (full context)
Healing, Growth, and Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Thought Theme Icon
Childrearing and Friendship Theme Icon
...tantrums and started going outside; and he spends all his time outside with Mary and Dickon. He also laughs. Mrs. Medlock says that Colin is in the garden now. This piques... (full context)