The Secret Garden | Study Guide

Frances Hodgson Burnett

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The Secret Garden | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • One winter day

    Mary's parents die in a cholera epidemic in India.

    Chapter 1
  • Several weeks later

    Mary moves from India to Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England, to live with her uncle.

    Chapter 2
  • The next day

    Mary explores the manor's grounds, meets Ben Weatherstaff, and makes her first friend, a robin.

    Chapter 4
  • Soon after

    Mary explores the house and hears someone crying.

    Chapter 6
  • About two weeks later

    Mary finds the key to a garden on the estate that has been locked for 10 years.

    Chapter 7
  • The next day

    Mary finds the door to the locked garden and enters it.

    Chapter 8
  • About a week later

    Mary meets Dickon and shows him the secret garden.

    Chapter 10
  • That same day

    Mary and Dickon work at restoring the garden; Dickon promises to keep the garden a secret.

    Chapter 11
  • During the night

    Mary discovers Colin hidden away in his private chambers.

    Chapter 13
  • Over the next week

    Mary and Colin talk daily; Colin expresses a desire to meet Dickon.

    Chapter 15
  • Two days later

    Colin has a tantrum, and Mary tells him off.

    Chapter 17
  • The next day

    Mary tells Colin she has been in the secret garden and that he will live to visit it.

    Chapter 18
  • Soon after

    Colin plans to visit the secret garden; Dickon and his animals visit Colin.

    Chapter 19
  • About a week later

    Colin goes to the secret garden, stands for the first time, and says he will live forever.

    Chapter 20
  • Late that afternoon

    Ben Weatherstaff discovers Colin, Mary, and Dickon in the secret garden.

    Chapter 21
  • Several days later

    Colin announces his plan to surprise his father by becoming strong enough to walk and run.

    Chapter 23
  • A few months later

    Mrs. Sowerby comes to the secret garden and meets Colin and Mary for the first time.

    Chapter 26
  • Around this time

    Mrs. Sowerby sends a letter to Mr. Craven urging him to return home.

    Chapter 27
  • A short time later

    Mr. Craven has a dream in which his wife tells him she's in the garden; he leaves for home.

    Chapter 27
  • A few days later

    Mr. Craven returns home and finds Colin healthy; they visit the secret garden and are reconciled.

    Chapter 27

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Mary is a girl, around nine years old, living in India. She is a sickly, "disagreeable-looking," child whose parents hav... Read More
Chapter 2 Mary stays with the Crawford family temporarily for several days. She dislikes them immensely. Two adults and five child... Read More
Chapter 3 Mary and Mrs. Medlock arrive at Thwaite Station, where a carriage is waiting to take them to Misselthwaite Manor. Curiou... Read More
Chapter 4 Mary awakens from her first night's sleep at Misselthwaite Manor to see Martha, a young housemaid, lighting the fire. Af... Read More
Chapter 5 Mary develops a routine. She wakes, watches Martha make her fire, eats breakfast, and goes outside. At first she dislike... Read More
Chapter 6 It rains the next day and Mary cannot go outside. She asks Martha what her family does in their four-room cottage on rai... Read More
Chapter 7 Two days later the rain stops, and the moor is transformed into a place of beauty filled with spring growth. Mary tells ... Read More
Chapter 8 Mary's imagination is awakening, and she is "beginning to care and to want to do new things." She holds the unearthed ke... Read More
Chapter 9 Mary finds the garden mysterious looking and very still. She wonders if the plants are dead and hopes some are alive. Sh... Read More
Chapter 10 During the next week, Mary works in the garden and undergoes many changes, "becoming wider awake ... beginning to like t... Read More
Chapter 11 Dickon walks around the garden in wonder. He shows Mary how to tell which roses are alive. They also cut away dead wood ... Read More
Chapter 12 Mary tells Martha about meeting Dickon. Martha suggests Mary ask Ben Weatherstaff for a spot to garden. Mrs. Medlock arr... Read More
Chapter 13 In the middle of the night, Mary awakens to the sound of rain. Unable to fall back asleep, she hears the sound of crying... Read More
Chapter 14 The next day, Mary tells Martha she has found Colin. Martha is instantly alarmed and fears she will lose her position. M... Read More
Chapter 15 It rains for a week so Mary cannot go outside. She spends several hours a day with Colin, talking and reading. She devel... Read More
Chapter 16 Mary spends the morning in the garden. When she comes in for lunch, Martha tells her Colin is expecting her to come talk... Read More
Chapter 17 Mary wakes in the middle of the night to the sounds of Colin having a tantrum. She cannot bear the sounds, and she now u... Read More
Chapter 18 The next morning, Mary stops by and sees Colin before she goes outside. She tells him she'll be back in a little while t... Read More
Chapter 19 Dr. Craven arrives to check on his patient, as he always does after Colin has had a tantrum. He is surprised to see him ... Read More
Chapter 20 The next week is windy and Colin has a cold, so he cannot go outside. Dickon visits almost every day and tells Colin abo... Read More
Chapter 21 Colin feels an immense sense of unity with nature when he first experiences springtime in the garden. The day's beauty a... Read More
Chapter 22 While Mary goes to meet Ben Weatherstaff at the garden door, Colin and Dickon talk. Colin proudly proclaims he can stand... Read More
Chapter 23 Dr. Craven examines Colin after his first garden outing and again cautions him to not overexert himself. Colin dismisses... Read More
Chapter 24 There is another garden in addition to the secret garden. Dickon has a garden to help provide his family with food. Ever... Read More
Chapter 25 The tame robin's mate lays eggs in the secret garden. The children avoid the corner where the nest is because they do no... Read More
Chapter 26 One day Colin gives a Magic lecture after the morning incantations. He explains that he needs to practice lecturing sinc... Read More
Chapter 27 Burnett shifts the point of view away from Misselthwaite and the children, opening the final chapter with an overview of... Read More
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