Inescapable Coexistence: Animals and Humans in The Secret Garden

Sandra Nickel


The Secret Garden serves as a strong example of the inescapable coexistence of animals and humans and the importance of that coexistence as it relates to children. The manner in which Frances Hodgson Burnett brings to light the interconnectedness of animals and humans is a testament to the importance of writers using every device available to deepen their chosen themes. She creates vivid settings and reinforces emotional states through animal correlatives, anthropomorphism, and zoomorphism, as well as by utilizing what Le Guin calls the "animal helper" to draw the reader's attention to—and sing out—the community of all living things.

By drawing upon Le Guin's study, I hope to support her assertions regarding the interconnectedness of human and animal communities, while at the same time, further contemporary discourses about Burnett's "classic" children's novel.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680