The Secret Garden


Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Mrs. Sowerby answered. "I never knowed [magic] by that name but what does the name matter? ...The same thing as set the seeds swelling and the sun shining made thee a well lad and it's the Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worry... It goes on making worlds by the million—worlds like us. Never thee stop believing in the Big Good Thing and knowing the world's full of it...The Magic listened when tha sung the Doxology. It would have listened to anything tha'd sung. It was the joy that mattered."

While the children's singing of the Doxology adds to the Christian associations of magic, Mrs. Sowerby's talk on the nature of magic suggest that Hodgson Burnett wishes it to be non-denominational. Susan says that it doesn't matter what name you call this force—it is the life principle, which makes the flowers grow, and makes Colin well, and is responsible for all new lives (the world that each individual is.) It is a creator, of some kind, and all it wants is our joy. The magic is presented here as being extremely fertile, and is thus linked with the maternal (yet virginal) person of Mrs. Sowerby and, by way of the secret garden, with the late Mistress Craven. By contrast, the stagnant world of the manor house is linked with Master Craven (and, by extension, with his upper-class masculinity). It is up to the individual reader to decide, of course, whether the idea of magic can truly be disassociated from its heavily Christian Scientist underpinnings.