The Role ofFemininity in The Secret Garden Jeff Hirsche http://l.yimg.com/g/images/spaceout.gif
Masculinity vs. Femininity in The Secret Garden Male associated with society Society is a negative force i.e. Cholera hits places where many people are gathered (Burnett, 1911, pp. 596-597) http://www.askart.com/AskART/photos/CNY5232001/105 .jpg Female associated with nature Nature is a positive force http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d4/Gustave_Caillebotte_- _Jour_de_pluie_à_Paris.jpg/786px-Gustave_Caillebotte_- i.e. Mrs. Lennox was _Jour_de_pluie_à_Paris.jpg warned to flee to the hills to escape the plague (p.
Society’s Negative SideSociety andCulture, themasculinedomain, isdepicted in a Cholera kills largenegative light gatherings of people, causing desolation (pp. 596-597) Mary’s parents too busy with work and parties to http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/hockney/hockney.furstenberg- be good parents (p. 595) paris.jpg Archibald Craven supplies doctors and luxuries, but none of these help Colin’s recovery (p. 612.)
Nature’s Positive RoleNature, although at times perceived negatively... Mary is teased for being “quite contrary,” which includes references to cockle shells and marigolds—symbols of nature (p. 598) Some people think that the country manor Misselthwaite, located in a moor, is too dreary to improve children (p. 599) ...has a positive role Mary, although surrounded by death, is not frightened—and seemingly comforted—by a snake (p. 597) The robin befriends the lonely— nature (pp. 607-608) Garden’s ability to heal Colin (pp. 613-615)http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/landscape-at-cagnes-pierre-auguste-renoir.jpg
For the Female ReaderAccording to Foster andSimons (1995), The SecretGarden has mainly appealedto female readers because ofthe following values: A focus on “personal and family values” over community ones An “emphasis on nurturing” “The importance of a mother figure” “The empowering role of of the imagination in personal development” • (p. 174) http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/5f/80/art,female,painting,pAnd this point is relevant ortrait-5f803aa2898919ada367aac589e5582f_h.jpg
The Importance of these Themes ...the feminine values allow the main characters to heal and grow Mary’s disposition and health become more agreeable as “her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children... With springtime and with secret gardens coming alive...” (Burnett, p. 609) Colin’s health is likewise benefited by his play in the garden, which ultimately brings Mr. Craven out of hishttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/L%27enfant_au_Tablier_Rouge.jpg melancholy also Also...
Healing Values continued...Simons and Foster point outthat contemporary novels such as Peter Pan, The Secret Garden focuses Unlike on collective play between boys and girls (p. 175) This play occurs in the feminine sphere of the garden, emphasizing the feminine role of cooperationHowever, The race between the children in the concluding chapter in which Colin wins instigates a return to the sphere of society (p. 175) http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/98 /VanGoghIrises2.jpg/760px-VanGoghIrises2.jpg
Masculinity Evidently, the healing that the feminine sphere of nature provides allows for the building up of masculinity Colin describes his own masculinity as a result of the garden: “It was the garden that did it—and Mary and Dickon and the creatures—and the Magic... I’m well, I can beat Mary in a race. I’m going to be an athlete.”http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/Seurat_bathers.png/800px-Seurat_bathers.png
Mr. Craven Mr. Craven does not display extremely masculine qualities; in fact, his role can be perceived in several lights: A kind of romantic figure, wandering aimlessly over his dead love A terrible father, only providing for his son’s material needs while neglecting his social or parental needshttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5b/Caspar_David_Friedrich_032.jpg/300px-Caspar_David_Friedrich_032.jpg
Identity LostEssentially, Mr. Craven lost hisidentity when he lost thefeminine influence in his life He was unsure how to be a proper father He was incapable of accepting a new feminine role into his life He shut away the garden, his link to memories of a positive feminine role http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/f4/The_Scream.jpg/475px- The_Scream.jpg
Identity FoundWhen his link to femininityreturned, Mr. Craven regainedhis identity He was unsure how to be a proper father He was incapable of accepting a new feminine role into his life He shut away the garden, his link to memories of a positive feminine role http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/66/Hand_with_Reflecting_Sphere. jpg
Femininity and its RoleEssentially, femininity’s role is to allow for growth andhealing femininity allows him to grow healthy For Colin, For Mr. Craven, femininity allows him to regain his identity For Mary, femininity allows her to socialize http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/Edouard_Manet%2C_A_Bar_at_the _Folies-Bergère.jpg/800px-Edouard_Manet%2C_A_Bar_at_the_Folies-Bergère.jpg
Femininity and its RoleWhen the garden is hid away, the balance between nature(feminine) and society (masculine) is askew http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Monet_Waterlilypond_1926.jpgWhen no longer concealed, the gendered spheres are backin balance, and the characters function more healthily
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