By: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Frances Hodgson Burnet
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett (24 November 1849 – 29 October 1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children's stories, in particular The Secret Garden (winner of the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1959), A Little Princess, and Little Lord Fauntleroy. Born Frances Eliza Hodgson, she lived in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. When her father died, the family was forced to sell their home and move to Salford. When she was sixteen, the family emigrated to Knoxville, Tennessee. There she began writing to help earn money for the family, publishing stories in magazines at the age of nineteen. In 1872 she married Swan Burnett. They lived in Paris for two years, where their two sons were born, before returning to the United States to live in Washington D.C. There she began to write novels, the first of which That Lass o' Lowries, was published to good reviews. The publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1886 made her a popular writer of children's fiction, although her romantic adult novels written in the 1890s were also popular. She wrote and helped to produce stage versions of Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little Princess. Burnett enjoyed socializing and lived a lavish lifestyle. Beginning in the 1880s, she began to travel to England frequently and bought a home there in the 1890s. Her oldest son, Lionel, died of tuberculosis in 1892, which caused a relapse of the depression she struggled with for much of her life. She divorced Swan Burnett in 1898 and remarried in 1900, although her second marriage only lasted for a year. At the end of her life she settled in Long Island, where she died in 1924.
Mary Lennox - One of the novel's two protagonists, Mary Lennox is a ten-year-old girl who, after the death of her parents in India, is sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire, England. Mary changes drastically over the course of The Secret Garden: she evolves from a spoiled, unloved and unloving creature to a girl who is full of spirit and surrounded by friends. She begins the book as its central character, but is later displaced by Colin. Colin Craven - The other of the novel's protagonists, Colin Craven is Archibald Craven's ten-year-old son and heir. He was born shortly after the death of his mother, and his father could not bear to look at him because of his resemblance to her. It is feared that he will grow to be a hunchback like his father, and he has been treated as an invalid since his birth. Colin's childhood has been entirely bedridden, and his servants have been commanded to obey his every whim. As a result, Colin is extremely imperious and gloomy; when we first meet him, he is certain he is going to die. By novel's end, however, he too will have undergone a transformation: he will have become a vigorous optimist, and will have won his father's love. Both his and Mary's conversions are effected by the magical properties inherent in the secret garden. Dickon Sowerby - Dickon is alternately described as "a common moor boy" and "a Yorkshire angel"; he is both. Two years older than Colin and Mary, Dickon has lived on Missel Moor his entire life, and has a uniquely intimate relationship with the land. He is described as looking like the god Pan (the god of ...): he has rosy cheeks, rough curly hair, and blue eyes precisely the same color as the sky over the moor; he even carries a set of pan-pipes. Like Pan, he has the power to charm both animals and people: all the creatures who come close to him are instantly tamed, and he counts a fox, a crow, and two wild squirrels among his pets. His power to tame creatures works on Colin and Mary as well, and is one of the central causes of their wondrous transformations. He is the brother of Martha and the son of Susan. Martha Sowerby - Mary's friend and maidservant, Martha is distinguished by...
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