The Secret Garden Character List 📖

‘The Secret Garden’ is filled with memorable characters who are notable for subverting expectations around the traditional “hero.”

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

There are a lot of characters in this book. Some of them are; Mary Lennox, Ben Weatherstaff, Mr Pitcher, Nurse Medlock, Colin Craven, Archibald Craven, Martha, and Dickon. The characters that make up ‘The Secret Garden‘ book are quite relatable. Everyone has most probably met a haughty teenager or a well-behaved one.

Mary Lennox

Mary is not a static character. She undergoes a lot of inner change. She goes from being impolite, inconsiderate, and thoughtless to being responsible, and thoughtful. She’s a ten-year-old who initially lived with her wealthy family in India. She is described as ugly, tyrannical, and selfish. Arguably, she is as bad as she is because of the environment she grew up in. Her mom neglected her all through her childhood and she has no idea what love is. Back in India, she had servants who attended to her every need, but she didn’t have affection.

When her parents die of cholera, she is abandoned until some British soldiers come to the house. She is soon moved to her uncle’s house at Misselthwaite Manor. There she meets her maidservant called Martha Sowerby. Since she has enough time on her hands, she goes exploring the world around her. She finds the secret garden and starts work trying to restore it. She also meets Dickon and her cousin, Colin Craven. The change in her environment and relations improves her attitude towards people and life. She soon stops being bitter and ill-mannered.

Martha Sowerby

Martha is a maid that works at the Manor. She is the one who attends to Mary upon her arrival from India. Martha speaks Yorkshire and enjoys storytelling. She is amused by Mary’s inability to do things herself. When Mary holds out her foot for her shoes to be worn, Martha asks her why she doesn’t wear her shoes herself. Martha is from a poor background, yet she’s confident and practical. She grew up in love and has a lot of affection to give. 

She is also quite kind. When she sees how much interest Mary has developed in the garden, she brings her gardening tools and introduces her to her brother, who is also interested in nature. When Mary is bored, she brings her a skipping rope to keep her company.

Dicky Sowerby

Dickon is a younger brother to Martha Sowerby. He is described as a lover of nature and wild things. He is two years older than Mary and Colin. He has the ability to charm people, as well as animals. Dickon is an all-rounder and a great kid who will render help to whoever needs it. When he heard Mary needed help with the garden, he came around and is all too glad to render assistance.  He is gentle, kind, loyal, and thoughtful. He is either helping Mary and Colin in their garden, or he is tending to his own family garden, where crops are grown to meet the financial needs of the Sowerby family. 

Colin Craven

He is Mary Lennox’s cousin. He is a ten-year-old who has been locked away from the world for the better part of his life. Colin had been born shortly before his mother died. For this reason, he gets shut away as his father couldn’t bear to look at him. Like Mary, he is a sad and bad-tempered child who always has his way. As with the case of Mary, he is nasty to people because he is hurting. He is constantly alone and it is believed he’ll grow to have a hunchback. He lacks love and has no friends. When Mary walks into his room, however, things gradually start to change. 

For a child who grew up thinking he was going to die early, his gloominess could be understood.  His association with Dickon and Mary, and time spent in the garden, turns him into a better, healthier child. He becomes so ambitious that he starts talking about magic and scientific discoveries. Colin’s health challenge is proven to be just a psychological challenge when he lets go of all the emotional and mental baggage and physically starts to get better. 

Archibald Craven

He is Colin’s father and Mary’s uncle. He owns Misselthwaite Manor and is believed to have a hunchback and bad health. He is rumored to have been a handsome and happy man, but following his wife’s death in her favorite garden, he shuts the garden up and withdraws into his shell.  His servants are ordered to not speak of his son. Mr Craven spends most of his time abroad so he doesn’t have to see his son whose eyes remind him of his late wife.

It is apparent that Archibald Craven is not a wicked parent, but a hurting one. He had called in Mary when she arrived at the Manor to ask if she needed anything.  Also, when Mrs Sowerby sends him a message asking that he returned home, he obeys and finds his son in the garden, lively and running like any normal child.  


Which two characters undergo visible transformations in ‘The Secret Garden?’

Mary and Collin. Both characters go from annoying, joyless, and deeply flawed children to upbeat, positive, and well-mannered.

Who is the most important character in ‘The Secret Garden?’

Mary. Mary is the heartbeat of the novel and the catalyst for the profound changes that came in the lives of most of the characters.

What sickness did Colin Craven have in ‘The Secret Garden?’

Colin Craven suffered from an unspecified spinal problem that prevented him from walking. He spent all the time in bed.

Israel Njoku
About Israel Njoku
Israel has a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. He loves entertainment, pop-culture and the arts and tries to extract themes with wider reaching implications from them through rigorous analysis.
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap