CSLJ Book Club Discussion of The Secret Garden – Day 4

CSLJ Book Club Discussion of The Secret Garden – Day 4

Hello everyone! It’s a gorgeous spring day here in NY but before I head out to enjoy the sunshine and chat with any friendly robins who may stop by, I wanted to post today’s book club discussion questions.

  • What do you think of Dickon? How does all the nature imagery used to describe him and his uncanny way with plants and animals impact the way you view the character?
  • How do you think his background as a “common moor boy” makes him different from Mary and Colin?
  • In spite of his class and the fact that his family struggles to make ends meet, he is the happiest and healthiest of the three children. Why do you think that is?
  • Do you think that Mary and Colin could have found redemption and happiness in the garden without Dickon?

Leave a comment here or on the CSLJ Facebook page with your thoughts and opinions on today’s questions.

Missed a day? It’s not too late to share your thoughts on our earlier posts. You can see them here.

And don’t forget that all of the Secret Garden jewelry in my Etsy shop is on sale this week. The sale ends tomorrow so don’t miss your chance to save 20% on handmade jewelry inspired by the classic book. See the full collection here.

Secret Garden Jewelry Collage
Top: Secret Garden Brooch, Secret Garden Adjustable Ring, Bottom: Secret Garden Key Necklace, Secret Garden Bangle Bracelet


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5 Responses to CSLJ Book Club Discussion of The Secret Garden – Day 4

  1. I think that the imagery used to describe Dickon is to help you trust Dickon. You always hear that if someone is good with plants or with animals that they are a person you can depend on. He definitely is a great character though he’s always doing so much for Mary and Colin it’s pretty impossible not to like him.

    I think that the reason Dickon is the strongest of the three is that he is nurtured so with love. While his family might be poor, he is allowed to flourish and is doted on by his family.

    I do not think that Mary and Colin would maybe have been able to find redemption and happiness without Dickon because they would not know what to aspire to. Mary and Colin didn’t realize how they acted till after they meeting Dickon. People would tell Mary what a miserable little child she was but not actually show her how she would be with happiness and redemption.

    • You make a lot of great points Leslie. Not only does Dickon’s earth manner make him seem very trustworthy but the fact that the wild critters trust him makes you realize that you can too!

      Plus, I think liking people was an important step in Mary’s development so having someone who was so likeable was very important.

  2. I’ve always liked Dickon but have never really considered him a main character of the book. In a lot of ways, I think he is more like the human equivalent of the robin or even the garden himself. He roams the moor like his creatures do, and he is described in earthy, natural terms. He cheeks are as red as poppies. He smells like heather and grass and leaves “almost as if he were made of them.” Wild animals trust him and seem to talk to him and tell him their secrets. The Robin describes him as a strange sort of robin and even Dickon, himself, says that sometimes he thinks he is really a fox cup or a crow or a wild thing on the moor and not a boy at all. And the very first time we see him, he is leaning against a tree, playing a pipe and surrounded by his creatures – almost as if he is Pan or a green man or some sort of nature spirit.

    When you add this all to the fact that Dickon never changes or grows or develops in anyway and he starts to seem more like a guide or an agent of the magic than a main character. It’s possible that Mary and Colin might have been able to make some progress alone but Dickon really smoothed the way for them.

    I think the secret to his health and happiness is that he learned early the lessons that the garden was teaching Mary and Colin. He knew what it was to take care of living things and to work up an appetite and to be happy for good healthy, hearty food. He never had the time to become obsessed with negativity. And, of course, he was loved by his mother and brothers and sisters and loved them in return. Neither Colin nor Mary had those advantages.

    I think it all comes down to a balance between being wild and overly-cultivated / civilized. If you look at the tending that the garden took, it needed care but not so much that it became “a gardener’s garden, all clipped an’ spick an’ span.” The same thing applies to the children – too much neglect and they couldn’t thrive but too much indulging and they became too delicate and wouldn’t survive. The Garden and the children alike needed a little wildness in them to find the magic. Only Dickon was never overly domesticated so he never lost that spark of magic and wildness that Mary and Colin have to cultivate in themselves.

  3. First I want to say that I don’t know how Dickon had all the energy to do all he did when his family was so large and they had to make the food stretch. He made me tired when I read about getting up way before dawn and walking miles 😀 His way with animals and plants makes him almost one of them. Animals have a way of knowing who likes them and who doesn’t. His background is night and day from the other children. He has grown up in an environment that loved and nurtured him as well as giving him loose guidance and the ability to grow up “naturally” allowing him to be his own person.
    I think Mary was on her way to change before Dickon came along. She had found the garden with the help of the robin and had started pulling the weeds and grass from the new shoots without quite knowing the good it was going to do to the plants. I think her and Colin would have found some inner growth in the garden but maybe not have matured in their inner growth as much without Dickon.

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