Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The Children of the Empire: Anti-Imperialism in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
Author(s): Toth, Gyorgy
Contact Email:
Keywords: British Empire
children's literature
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Issue Date: 2003
Date Deposited: 27-Jan-2015
Citation: Toth G (2003) The Children of the Empire: Anti-Imperialism in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. The AnaChronisT, 9, pp. 117-147.
Abstract: "It is the child no one ever saw!" exclaims a British officer when he finds in a choleraridden Indian compound Mary Lennox, the heroine of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel The Secret Garden. These words refer to the actual character of Mary as much as the socio-political hierarchy of British imperialism. The little girl leads a life devoid of love, caring and sharing, while the Empire she lives in is ailed by the same malady: the cholera killing her parents stems from a blind authoritarian colonialism Mary must leave in order to have a chance for recovery. "She only knew that people were ill," and readers know little more when this one-sentence thesis is given to them at the out- set of a novel which aims to investigate the cure of Mary's illness and in the course of doing so possibly uncovers the root causes. This paper shows that while Frances Hodgson Burnett's work may be considered a piece of children's literature because it places in the centre the healing process of children from parental neglect, its strong linkage of this theme with images of the colonial socio-political hierarchy and master-servant relationships also makes it more than a harmless bedside reading. The Secret Garden's question of whether Mary Lennox and Colin Craven can be cured of their illness can by implication be extended to a literary understanding of contemporary British society, and the novel can thus be interpreted not only as a creed of Rousseauistic pedagogy but also as a critique of the psychology, society and politics of British imperialism.
Rights: The publisher has not yet responded to our queries therefore this work cannot be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
2003Toth Children of the Empire.pdfFulltext - Published Version375.76 kBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 2999-12-02    Request a copy
Children of the Empire.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version235.55 kBAdobe PDFUnder Embargo until 2999-12-02    Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.