The Secret Garden was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and first published in 1911. It is one of Burnett's most popular novels and is considered as a classic of English children's literature.
Back to the turn of the 20th century, the heroine, 10-year-old Mary Lennox lived in India with her wealthy British parents who ignored her since she was born. Spoiled by her servants, Mary became rude, indifferent and selfish. Then after a severe cholera epidemic, Mary fell to a homeless orphan and was adopted by Archibald Craven, an uncle whom she has never met, at his isolated house, Misselthwaite Manor, in Yorkshire of England.
As the plot develops, with the help of Martha, a good-natured maid, as well as the gardener Ben Weatherstaff, and the miraculous robin redbreast Mary found the secret garden. At the same time, she was curious about the horrible midnight cries occasionally echoing through the empty corridors and digged out that it was from Mr. Craven's weak "dying " son Colin.
Of course, this novel comes to a happy ending: together with Martha's brother Dickon, Mary and Colin explored the secret garden and tended it with care and love. Through their exploration and adventure in the garden, they have grown up mentally and physically. Instead of an aggressive and sour girl, Mary has become helpful, considerate and grateful, while Colin, her cousin, has become from a weak, arrogant sickly boy to a healthy, confident and elegant one. At the end of this novel, Mr. Craven, under the calling from his deep heart, finally walked out of the shadows of his wife's death, and hurried back to home, and was welcomed by nobody but his son's big smile and a flourish garden, which was created by him and his beloved wife, deserted after his wife's death and now saved back to its blossom by the children.
One of the most remarkable writing features employed by the writer is symbolism. In this novel, secret garden means the hidden soul of human beings, and both Mary and Colin refer to the vices of people. In reality, everyone has a hidden garden in our hearts, and the farther you attempt to flee, the more isolated and ruinous it will come. The waste garden can't recover by itself, but by its owner's self-consciousness and enthusiasm for life. Only when we look inside, face our weakness bravely in an objective way, spare no efforts to control it and conquer it, we can free us from the bondage of the human evilness, indifference and frailty.
Besides, in the novel, the moor symbolizes the nature, which nurtures us invisibly but powerfully. Martha's family members, especially her mother and her brother, represent love from family and from friendship respectively, which has an important influence on the development of our growth.
Anyway, The Secret Garden is a warmhearted and inspiring story, by which we can realize that life is filled with ups and downs, and how to accept the bumpy life with a peaceful mind and optimistic attitude does matter to us.