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'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it is frequently said, shows us the triumph of patriarchy. To what extent is this statement valid - Essay Example

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The Secret Garden is written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. She is said to have first encountered her secret garden in 1861 but only wrote about it fifty years later in 1911. (Carpenter & Shirley 1990). This essay explores the extent of patriarchy in Frances Burnett's The Secret Garden.
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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it is frequently said, shows us the triumph of patriarchy. To what extent is this statement valid
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Extract of sample "'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it is frequently said, shows us the triumph of patriarchy. To what extent is this statement valid"

Download file to see previous pages Mary is sent to live temporarily at the English clergyman, Crawford's house until she was to travel to her uncle in England. It seems Mary is passed from one patriarch to another in a patriarchal world. Basil Crawford acts like a young patriarch by singing and leading the other children to sing a rhyme to make fun of Mary and bully her.
Mary goes to live at her uncle Archibald's Misselthwaite Manor, where the staff relate stories about Archibald's patriarchy. Mrs. Medlock, Archibald's housekeeper, tells Mary that she sacrificed attending her niece's wedding because she wanted to keep her job and 'do at once what Mr. Archibald Craven told her to do. She never dared ask a question.' (Burnett 1994). Mary is introduced to the patriarchal world of Archibald. Martha, the maid, reveals that the secret garden used to be the lovers' paradise that only Mr. and Mrs. Craven were allowed to access.. The secret garden is an enclosed space that symbolises the woman's space that is sharply defined away from the man's space. (Knauss 1987). Archibald appreciated the honor of sharing in it. He understood that it was his wife's sanctuary in her male dominated world of patriarchy. He allowed it when she was alive. After her death, Archibald felt helpless and needed to regain some control. The secret garden is opened with a symbolic key. This key denotes power and understanding. When Mrs. Craven died, Archibald does not understand his grief. He hides the key because he desires to exert his power through his patriarchy, which keeps his staff subdued and powerless. (Russell 2002). Martha's mother, Mrs. Sowerby, understands the need for a lonely female to do some gardening. She predicts correctly that Mary might like to do some gardening of her own. The garden is viewed as a type of female utopia where the female has her own private domain to rule. (Qian Ma 2004). Mary may not understand the psychology behind her action and none of this explanation is necessary in this work as it belongs to 'children's literature. Burnett uses an older or adult character (Martha) to explain the difficult concepts in the story in a simple way. Martha helps Mary to settle into Misselthwaite Manor by making her as comfortable as possible in Archibald's patriarchal household. Even the male gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, exercised his own air of patriarchy when he deliberately avoids her. Although Mary has a higher social status than himself, he is not a servant to 'be merely commanded by them (members of his employer's family) to do things'. (Burnett 1994). However, Ben is subject to his employer, Archibald's patriarchy, which rules over his own.
Archibald finally consents to see Mary only after Mrs. Susan Sowerby talks to him about it. This is evidence that Archibald is a flexible patriarch who listens to advice. He is kind to Mary and readily gives her permission to do and have what she likes. Archibald does not seem to be a triumphant patriarch who gives orders to his charge. Mary observes that 'he is really a nice man, only his face is so miserable and his forehead is all drawn together.'
Mary loves her secret garden. The secret garden with its isolation is a sign of rebellion against the surroundings of patriarchy. (Abalos 2002). She is under the control of her uncle, who exerts secondary control over her by his orders to his servants. Mary complained that she has nothing to do and nothing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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