The book reinforces its condemnation of parental neglect in two ways in this chapter: through the voice of the clergyman, and in the person of the woman who accompanies Mary on her trip back to England. This woman is only traveling back to England to leave her own children in a boarding-school; the novel thereby suggests that abandonment and neglect are common among English parents in India. The clergyman alone recognizes that Mary's bitterness is the product of her mother's neglect, saying that Mary's "scarcely ever looked at her," and so Mary inherited neither her beauty nor her charm.

Mary, for her part, amply returns the enmity that is heaped upon her, though hers is predicated, in some measure, upon class: that is, she despises the family and Mrs. Medlock for being poorer than she. She is contemptuous of the clergyman's crowded, untidy bungalow, his children's patched clothes, and of Mrs. Medlock's "common face" and "common fine bonnet." "Common," here, means low-class, or vulgar; it constitutes a very strong epithet indeed in a country as fanatically class-conscious as England.

The precarious position of servants with regard to their employers is again suggested in this chapter, in that Mrs. Medlock must miss her niece's wedding in order to pick up Mary. This is "the only way in which she could keep [her position]... to do at once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do...[and] never dare even to ask a question." Servants, in England as in India, are permitted no freedoms.

The story of Archibald Craven, as related to Mary by Basil and Mrs. Medlock, impresses her as having a number of fairy-tale characteristics. Not least among these is the great house in which he lives, comprised of a hundred locked rooms; this, coupled with the description of him as a widower and "hunchback," makes him seem like an English Bluebeard. Mary's life has, by Chapter II, been given over entirely to fairy-tale: she is being sent to live with her fantastical uncle in his fantastical house; furthermore, as Medlock relates his story, it begins to rain, making the entire scene quite "like something in a book."

The hundred locked rooms of Misselthwaite Manor provide another instance of the motif of secrets that animates the novel. Mary, upon her arrival at Misselthwaite, is positioned as yet another of those secrets: like her parents, her uncle does not wish "to see what he doesn't want to see," and so Mary is buried in one of the Manor's distant rooms.

Mary earns the much-despised nickname of "Mistress Mary Quite Contrary" by engaging in the activity that will later prove to be her salvation: gardening. The omniscient narrator seems to approve of this nickname, as it will henceforth often refer to Mary in this manner, and concludes this chapter by doing so.