The Secret Garden


Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"Well, it was rather funny to say [that Dickon was an angel]," Mary admitted frankly, "because his nose does turn up and he has a big mouth and his clothes have patches all over them and he talks broad Yorkshire, but—but if an angel did come to Yorkshire and lived on the moor—if there was a Yorkshire angel—I believe he'd understand the green things and know how to make them grow and he would know how to talk to the wild creatures as Dickon does and they'd know he was friends for sure."

Dickon Sowerby is, in some sense, the spirit of Missel Moor. His eyes are described as looking like "pieces of moorland sky," and he smells of "heather and grass and if he were made of them." When the reader first encounters him, he is sitting beneath a tree charming animals with the music of his wooden pipe. This immediately conjures the image of panpipes, and serves to associate Dickon with the god Pan (the Greek god of Nature, Laughter, Passion, and Music). He therefore is presented as having an uncannily close relationship with the wilderness and with wild things. He is able to "whisper flowers out of the earth," and inspires Mary's instant and unquestioning love. The contradiction in terms represented by the phrase "Yorkshire angel" arises out of the opposition between heaven and earth. Here, of course Yorkshire represents earth, and is evidenced by Dickon's common appearance. He transcends such class distinctions, however, because he is in some sense a heavenly creature. The question of how Dickon can be both absolutely of the earth and absolutely of the heavens (even his eyes are like bits of sky) is easily resolved when the reader recalls that, in the world of The Secret Garden, the world of nature is itself divine. Thus, Dickon can be, even in the Christian economy of the novel, the god of nature.